Developing protein-based bio-inks for FDM 3D printed microfluidic and millifluidic biosensor applications

  • Elaheh Sirjani

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Protein-based bio-inks for fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printers were developed along with protocols for printing these bio-inks on the surface of the 3D-prints in such a way that they retain their biological activity.

    Firstly, physical characterisation of a range of novel FDM filaments was performed in the printed state, to provide a set of criteria to determine an optimum filament for the fabrication of a microfluidic or millifluidic (biosensor) device containing the developed bio-inks.

    Secondly, a custom-built syringe extruder for the MakerBot Replicator 2X experimental 3D printer was constructed and characterised. The syringe extruder was prepared to establish methodological approaches so that bio-inks could be decanted directly onto 3D prints during production.

    Thirdly a series of approaches were trialled to develop bio-inks for FDM 3D printed microfluidic or millifluidic biosensor application. Protein-based bio-inks were made by covalently coupling glucose oxidase and horseradish peroxidase proteins to 20 nm and 50 nm AuNPs, gold-coated magnetic nanoparticles (Nitmagold50nm) and magnetic Dynabeads. Suitability of developed bio-inks for FDM 3D printing applications was evaluated by assessing immobilisation and inhibition of bio-inks enzymatic activity in 3D printed devices using an optimised protocol.

    A set of functional bio-inks were successfully prepared using glucose oxidase and horseradish peroxidase protein coupled to Dynabeads, decanted into 3D printed devices using the FDM 3D printer syringe extruder, to make a simple glucose detection system.

    Finally, using transparent filaments 3D-printed inserts for a UV/vis spectrometer were developed and loaded with bio-inks to enable a colorimetric enzymatic cascade reaction capable of quantifying lactose in solution to be carried out.

    The findings of this research are a step toward creating inexpensive and rapidly produced 3D printed biosensor devices for colorimetric enzymatic assays by open source methods.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorMarcus Dymond (Supervisor) & Peter Cragg (Supervisor)

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