Inkjet printing of paraffin on paper allows low-cost point-of-care diagnostics for pathogenic fungi

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We present a high resolution, ultra-frugal printing of paper microfluidic devices using in-house paraffin formulation on a simple filter paper. The patterns printed using an office inkjet printer formed a selective hydrophobic barrier of 4 ± 1 µm thickness with a hydrophilic channel width of 275 µm. These printed patterns effectively confine common aqueous solutions and solvents, which was verified by solvent compatibility studies. SEM analysis reveals that the solvent confinement is due to pore blockage in the filter paper. The fabricated paper-based device was validated for qualitative assessment of Candida albicans (pathogenic fungi) by using a combination of L-proline β-naphthylamide as the substrate and cinnamaldehyde as an indicator. Our studies reveal that the pathogenic fungi can be detected within 10 min with the limit of detection (LOD) of 0.86 × 106 cfu/mL. Owing to its simplicity, this facile method shows high potential and can be scaled up for developing robust paper-based devices for biomarker detection in resource-limited settings. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

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