Separation of blood microsamples by exploiting sedimentation at the microscale

Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 20;8(1):14101. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32314-4.


Microsample analysis is highly beneficial in blood-based testing where cutting-edge bioanalytical technologies enable the analysis of volumes down to a few tens of microliters. Despite the availability of analytical methods, the difficulty in obtaining high-quality and standardized microsamples at the point of collection remains a major limitation of the process. Here, we detail and model a blood separation principle which exploits discrete viscosity differences caused by blood particle sedimentation in a laminar flow. Based on this phenomenon, we developed a portable capillary-driven microfluidic device that separates blood microsamples collected from finger-pricks and delivers 2 µL of metered serum for bench-top analysis. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated the high purity of generated microsamples. Proteomic and metabolomic analyses of the microsamples of 283 proteins and 1351 metabolite features was consistent with samples generated via a conventional centrifugation method. These results were confirmed by a clinical study scrutinising 8 blood markers in obese patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Sedimentation*
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Proteomics
  • Viscosity