The LabTube - A Novel Microfluidic Platform for Assay Automation in Laboratory Centrifuges

Lab Chip. 2014 May 7;14(9):1527-37. doi: 10.1039/c3lc51261d. Epub 2014 Mar 4.


Assay automation is the key for successful transformation of modern biotechnology into routine workflows. Yet, it requires considerable investment in processing devices and auxiliary infrastructure, which is not cost-efficient for laboratories with low or medium sample throughput or point-of-care testing. To close this gap, we present the LabTube platform, which is based on assay specific disposable cartridges for processing in laboratory centrifuges. LabTube cartridges comprise interfaces for sample loading and downstream applications and fluidic unit operations for release of prestored reagents, mixing, and solid phase extraction. Process control is achieved by a centrifugally-actuated ballpen mechanism. To demonstrate the workflow and functionality of the LabTube platform, we show two LabTube automated sample preparation assays from laboratory routines: DNA extractions from whole blood and purification of His-tagged proteins. Equal DNA and protein yields were observed compared to manual reference runs, while LabTube automation could significantly reduce the hands-on-time to one minute per extraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automation
  • Centrifugation / economics
  • Centrifugation / instrumentation*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • DNA / blood
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Laboratories*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / economics
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*


  • DNA