Abstract

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) enables multiplex detection of analytes using simple, portable equipment consisting of a single excitation source and detector. Thus, in theory, SERS is ideally suited to replace fluorescence in assays that screen for numerous deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) targets, but in practice, SERS-based assays have suffered from complexity and elaborate processing steps. Here, we report an assay in which a simple inkjet-fabricated plasmonic paper device enables SERS-based detection of multiple DNA targets within a single polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In prior work, we demonstrated the principles of chromatographic separation and SERS-based detection on inkjet-fabricated plasmonic paper. The present work extends that capability for post-PCR gene sequence detection. In this design, hydrolysis DNA probes with 5′ Raman labels are utilized; if the target is present, the probe is hydrolyzed during PCR, freeing the reporter. After applying the PCR sample to a paper SERS device, an on-device chromatographic separation and concentration is conducted to discriminate between hydrolyzed and intact probes. SERS is then used to detect the reporter released by the hydrolyzed probes. This simple separation and detection on paper eliminates the need for complex sample processing steps. In this work, we simultaneously detect the methicillin-resistant <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> genes <i>mecA</i> and <i>femB</i> to illustrate the concept. We envision that this approach could contribute to the development of multiplex DNA diagnostic tests enabling screening for several target sequences within a single reaction, which is necessary for cases in which sample volume and resources are limited.

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