Dielectrophoretic Isolation of DNA and Nanoparticles From Blood

In this article, the authors used Biological Dynamics technology to isolate, concentrate and detect DNA and nanoparticles directly from human and rat whole blood. This ability to work directly with high conductivity solutions dramatically shortens and simplifies sample preparation for many diagnostic applications.

Sonnenberg, A., Marciniak, J. Y., Krishnan, R. and Heller, M. J. (2012), Dielectrophoretic Isolation of DNA and Nanoparticles From Blood. ELECTROPHORESIS, 33: 2482–2490. doi: 10.1002/elps.201100700


The ability to effectively detect disease-related DNA biomarkers and drug delivery nanoparticles directly in blood is a major challenge for viable diagnostics and therapy monitoring. A DEP method has been developed which allows the rapid isolation, concentration and detection of DNA and nanoparticles directly from human and rat whole blood.

Using a microarray device operating at 20 V peak-to-peak and 10 kHz, a wide range of high molecular weight (HMW)-DNA and nanoparticles were concentrated into high-field regions by positive DEP, while the blood cells were concentrated into the low-field regions by negative DEP. A simple fluidic wash removes the blood cells while the DNA and nanoparticles remain concentrated in the DEP high-field regions where they can be detected by fluorescence. HMW-DNA could be detected at 260 ng/mL, which is a detection level suitable for analysis of disease-related cell-free circulating DNA biomarkers. Fluorescent 40 nm nanoparticles could be detected at 9.5 × 109 particles/mL, which is a level suitable for monitoring drug delivery nanoparticles.

The ability to rapidly isolate and detect DNA biomarkers and nanoparticles from undiluted whole blood will benefit many diagnostic applications by significantly reducing sample preparation time and complexity.