DNA manipulation by means of insulator-based dielectrophoresis employing direct current electric fields
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Electrokinetic techniques offer a great potential for biological particle manipulation. Among these, dielectrophoresis (DEP) has been successfully utilized for the concentration of bioparticles. Traditionally, DEP is performed employing microelectrodes, an approach with attractive characteristics but expensive due to microelectrode fabrication costs. An alternative is insulator-based DEP, a method where non-uniform electric fields are created with arrays of insulating structures. This study presents the concentration of linear DNA particles (pET28b) employing a microchannel, with an array of cylindrical insulating structures and direct current electric fields. Results showed manipulation of DNA particles with a combination of electroosmotic, electrophoretic, and dielectrophoretic forces. Employing suspending media with conductivity of 104 mS/cm and pH of 11.15, under applied fields between 500 and 1500 V/cm, DNA particles were observed to be immobilized due to negative dielectrophoretic trapping. The observation of DNA aggregates that occurred at higher applied fields, and dispersed once the field was removed is also included. Finally, concentration factors varying from 8 to 24 times the feed concentration were measured at 2000 V/cm after concentration time-periods of 20-40 s. The results presented here demonstrate the potential of insulator-based DEP for DNA concentration, and open the possibility for fast DNA manipulation for laboratory and large-scale applications. © 2009 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.