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Biomicrofluidics. 2012 Mar;6(1):12803-128039. doi: 10.1063/1.3665717. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Studying enzymatic bioreactions in a millisecond microfluidic flow mixer.

Abstract

In this study, the pre-steady state development of enzymatic bioreactions using a microfluidic mixer is presented. To follow such reactions fast mixing of reagents (enzyme and substrate) is crucial. By using a highly efficient passive micromixer based on multilaminar flow, mixing times in the low millisecond range are reached. Four lamination layers in a shallow channel reduce the diffusion lengths to a few micrometers only, enabling very fast mixing. This was proven by confocal fluorescence measurements in the channel's cross sectional area. Adjusting the overall flow rate in the 200 μm wide and 900 μm long mixing and observation channel makes it possible to investigate enzyme reactions over several seconds. Further, the device enables changing the enzyme/substrate ratio from 1:1 up to 3:1, while still providing high mixing efficiency, as shown for the enzymatic hydrolysis using β-galactosidase. This way, the early kinetics of the enzyme reaction at multiple enzyme/substrate concentrations can be collected in a very short time (minutes). The fast and easy handling of the mixing device makes it a very powerful and convenient instrument for millisecond temporal analysis of bioreactions.

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