Microfluidic applications of functionalized magnetic particles for environmental analysis: focus on waterborne pathogen detection
The continuous surveillance of drinking water is extremely important to provide early warning of contamination and to ensure continuous supplies of healthy drinking water. Isolation and detection of a particular type of pathogen present at low concentration in a large volume of water, concentrating the analyte in a small detection volume, and removing detection inhibiting factors from the concentrated sample, present the three most important challenges for water quality monitoring laboratories. Combining advanced biological detection methods (e.g., nucleic acid-based or immunology-based protocols) with microfluidics and immunomagnetic separation techniques that exploit functionalized magnetic particles has tremendous potential for realization of an integrated system for pathogen detection, in particular, of waterborne pathogens. Taking advantage of the unique properties of magnetic particles, faster, more sensitive, and more economical diagnostic assays can be developed that can assist in the battle against microbial pathogenesis. In this review, we highlight current technologies and methods used for realization of magnetic particle-based microfluidic integrated waterborne pathogen isolation and detection systems, which have the potential to comply in future with regulatory water quality monitoring requirements.