The separation of plasma from human blood can involve some relatively expensive centrifuges that many clinics around the world can’t afford. Thanks to MAKE Blog, we learned of a paper published a year ago in Lab on a Chip that proposes using a manual egg beater to perform plasmapheresis. The modified device, developed at Harvard University, uses one of the spinning beaters to whirl around a plastic tube filled with blood. The researchers identified the new centrifuge as a practical tool to be used by cash strapped clinics in developing nations that need to perform plasma separation for immunoassay disease detection.
From the article abstract:
Human whole blood was loaded into polyethylene (PE) tubing, and the tubing was attached to the paddle of an egg beater. Spinning the paddle pelleted the blood cells to the distal end of the PE tubing; the plasma remained as the supernatant. A cholesterol assay (run on patterned paper) demonstrated the suitability of this plasma for use in diagnostic assays. The physics of the system was also analyzed as a guide for the selection of other rotating systems for use in centrifugation. Egg beaters, polyethylene tubing, and paper are readily available devices and supplies that can facilitate the use of point-of-care diagnostics at sites far from centralized laboratory facilities.
More from Highlights in Chemical Technology…
Abstract in Lab on a Chip: Egg beater as centrifuge: isolating human blood plasma from whole blood in resource-poor settings
(hat tip: MAKE Blog)