ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Analytical Chemistry

Bubble Wrap As Labware

Pocketed polyethylene sheets can serve as sample storage containers, assay plates in resource-limited settings

by Lauren K. Wolf
July 28, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 30

[+]Enlarge
Credit: Anal. Chem.
Sections of Bubble Wrap can be injected with clinical samples and measured with a microplate reader.
09230-scicon-Bubblewrapcxd.jpg
Credit: Anal. Chem.
Sections of Bubble Wrap can be injected with clinical samples and measured with a microplate reader.
[+]Enlarge
Credit: Anal. Chem.
09230-scicon-injectcxd.jpg
Credit: Anal. Chem.

When George M. Whitesides and his research team at Harvard University look at Bubble Wrap, they don’t see packing material or even a sheet of stress relief waiting to be popped. Rather, the researchers see scads of sample containers for the lab. Whitesides’s group has long been adapting everyday items such as eggbeaters and camera phones as low-cost lab equipment and disease diagnostics for the developing world. “Looking at Bubble Wrap, we noticed that the bubbles are in some sense like the ‘wells’ of a well-plate,” the team says. So the scientists tested whether various brands of the polyethylene-based packaging could replace expensive sample well-plates in resource-limited settings (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac501206m). They injected individual bubbles with aqueous solutions, sealed the punctures with fingernail hardener, and demonstrated that the fluids were stable and didn’t leak for weeks. Then they showed that the bubbles—sterile inside and permeable to gases such as oxygen—can be used to culture microorganisms. And the team proved that the sheets could be preloaded with assay reagents, injected with blood samples, and loaded into a plate reader to determine the samples’ hemoglobin content, an indicator of anemia.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment