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Lab Chip. 2008 Dec;8(12):2032-7. doi: 10.1039/b809830c. Epub 2008 Oct 14.

Egg beater as centrifuge: isolating human blood plasma from whole blood in resource-poor settings.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


This paper demonstrates that a hand-powered egg beater can be modified to serve as a centrifuge for separating plasma from human whole blood. Immunoassays used to diagnose infectious diseases often require plasma from whole blood, and obtaining plasma typically requires electrically-powered centrifuges, which are not widely available in resource-limited settings. Human whole blood was loaded into polyethylene (PE) tubing, and the tubing was attached to the paddle of an egg beater. Spinning the paddle pelleted the blood cells to the distal end of the PE tubing; the plasma remained as the supernatant. A cholesterol assay (run on patterned paper) demonstrated the suitability of this plasma for use in diagnostic assays. The physics of the system was also analyzed as a guide for the selection of other rotating systems for use in centrifugation. Egg beaters, polyethylene tubing, and paper are readily available devices and supplies that can facilitate the use of point-of-care diagnostics at sites far from centralized laboratory facilities.

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