Functionalization of Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) Surface by Amination with Polyethyleneimine (PEI) for Applications in Microfluidic Immunoassays, Protein/Enzyme Biochips, and Biocatalysis

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is a useful material for development of assays, biochips, and other biological materials. However, PMMA makes for a difficult substrate because of complexities with respect to adhesion. This technology presents two new methods for enhanced protein binding onto PMMA.

The Need

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is a synthetic resin in the acrylic family, often used as a substitute for glass or as a material for biomedical devices. PMMA-based biosensors have low protein binding efficiency and low sensitivity. PMMA is used in a variety of applications like immunoassays, biosensors, protein biochips, and biocatalysis. However, the surface of the material exhibits weak bonding characteristics. Modifications of the surface for enhanced performaces would improve the use and allow for cheaper, more efficient devices.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University led by Dr. Shang-Tian Yang have developed two methods for enhanced protein binding onto polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) substrate. These surface modification methods involve coating amine-bearing polymers, such as polyethyleneimine (PEI) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH), onto PMMA surface by electrostatic interaction or covalent binding. Protein molecules are bound to the aminated surface via a crosslinking agent. The resulting PMMA surface is able to bind more active proteins, such as antibodies, for enhanced performance in various applications.

Commercial Applications

  • Immunoassays
  • Biosensors
  • Protein biochips

Benefits/ Advantages

  • Solves the problems of low protein binding efficiency and low sensitivity in PMMA-based biosensors.
  • Simpler, more efficient, and less expensive to apply in the microfabricated devices compared with the existing surface modification technology.

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