The quantification of electrolytes in biological fluids plays an important role for evaluating the human health condition. This work proposes a disposable and simple microfluidic paperbased analytical device (µPAD) for the quantitative colorimetric detection of salivary Na+, K+ and Ca2+, relying on ion-selective optodes (ISOs). Nanoscale ISOs composed of pluronic F-127 surfactant-based micelles were used as a colorimetric indicator system, reducing the assay time compared to the previously reported bulk membrane approach. Devices consist of three functionalized paper layers assembled by lamination, with the optical signal read out from the bottom layer. Saliva was chosen as the biological specimen because it is painlessly collected and easy-to-handle, which makes it suitable for POC assays. Simultaneous Na+, K+ and Ca2+ detection by a single µPAD was successfully confirmed by using aqueous metal ion samples with various concentrations of Na+, K+ and Ca2+ within the biologically relevant range. The simultaneous detection of the three cationic species enabled the correction of the three ion quantities by eliminating the interference from other ions using the calculated selectivity coefficients. For proof-of-concept, Na+ quantification in a human saliva sample was conducted by the developed µPADs. The calibration curve for this assay was prepared by applying artificial saliva to the µPADs. The concentrations of Na+ in spiked human saliva were also measured by the µPADs. The obtained recovery rates were 78-132 %, which indicates the quantification of the added Na+ in the real sample matrix. Finally, this µPAD was successfully integrated into a smartphone-based assay, which enables salivary electrolyte quantification in resource poor settings. The developed µPADs satisfy the criteria of low-cost (< $0.3/device), rapidity (< 5 min) and simple analytical procedure compared to the conventional ion-selective electrode (ISE) method.
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