Food analysis on microfluidic devices using ultrasensitive carbon nanotubes detectors
Microfluidic devices using carbon nanotube (CNT) materials (single-walled and two multiwalled (MWCNT)) for the analysis of selected analyte groups of significance in foods such as dietary antioxidants, water-soluble vitamins, vanilla flavors, and isoflavones involved in representative food samples have been explored for the first time. Ultrafast separations resulted in well-defined and resolved peaks with enhanced voltammetric current in comparison with those obtained from unmodified screen-printed electrodes, turning MWCNT into an ideal material for electrochemical sensing in food analysis. Resolution was improved by a factor of 2, and sensitivity was dramatically enhanced with amplification factors toward calibration slopes from 4- to 16-fold. In both qualitative and quantitative domains, this impressive performance of CNTs integrated on microfluidics allowed solving specific challenges in food environments such as the direct detection of analytes in complex natural samples and unambiguous analytes in the control of fraud, which was not possible on nonmodified surfaces, avoiding the integration of complex preconcentration steps on these microdevices. The use of these unique materials in microfluidics for food analysis has opened new expectations in "lab-on-a-chip" domains.