APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Industrial enzymes
- Biomass deconstruction for chemicals or fuel production
- Sample preparation automated from the source
- Reduced reagent consumption
- Controlled transport
- Able to screen large numbers of mutants at small volumes using microfluidics
Trent Northen and Joshua Heinemann of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed microNIMS, which provides an interface for detecting compounds in microfluidic droplets using mass spectrometry including Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption and Ionization (MALDI) and Nanostructure-Initiator Mass Spectrometry (NIMS). microNIMS can be applied to array large quantities of enzyme and substrate onto a defined grid to allow enzymatic characterization. The technology can also be used to quantify small molecule biomarkers from different biofluids.
Specifically, a reversible seal between a microfluidics chip and a mass spectrometry chip allows individual droplets to be placed at defined locations on the chip. The chip can then be removed and scanned using a mass spectrometer. Droplet to digital (D2D) functionality enables the controlled transport on the microNIMS chip. Thus, the droplets can be thought of as bits of information and controlled individually to assay unique enzyme and substrate / product combinations. Unlike earlier approaches, the JBEI technology overcomes traditional incompatibilities between droplet and digital microfluidics and mass spectrometry-based detection.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Heinemann, J., Deng, K., Shih, S., Gao, J., Adams, P., Singh, A., Northen, T. “On-chip integration of droplet microfluidics and nanostructure-initiator mass spectrometry for enzyme screening,” Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016. DOI:10.1039/c61c01182a
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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