Microchimica Acta

, Volume 181, Issue 11–12, pp 1151–1168 | Cite as

Nucleic acid detection based on the use of microbeads: a review

  • Stefan Rödiger
  • Claudia Liebsch
  • Carsten Schmidt
  • Werner Lehmann
  • Ute Resch-Genger
  • Uwe Schedler
  • Peter Schierack
Review Article


Microbead-based technologies represent elegant and versatile approaches for highly parallelized quantitative multiparameter assays. They also form the basis of various techniques for detection and quantification of nucleic acids and proteins. Nucleic acid-based methods include hybridization assays, solid-phase PCR, sequencing, and trapping assays. Microbead assays have been improved in the past decades and are now important tools in routine and point-of-care diagnostics as well as in life science. Its advances include low costs, low workload, high speed and high-throughput automation. The potential of microbead-based assays therefore is apparent, and commercial applications can be found in the detection and discrimination of single nucleotide polymorphism, of pathogens, and in trapping assays. This review provides an overview on microbead-based platforms for biosensing with a main focus on nucleic acid detection (including amplification strategies and on selected probe systems using fluorescent labeling). Specific sections cover chemical properties of microbeads, the coupling of targets onto solid surfaces, microbead probe systems (mainly oligonucleotide probes), microbead detection schemes (with subsections on suspension arrays, microfluidic devices, and immobilized microbeads), quantification of nucleic acids, PCR in solution and the detection of amplicons, and methods for solid-phase amplification. We discuss selected trends such as microbead-coupled amplification, heterogeneous and homogenous DNA hybridization assays, real-time assays, melting curve analysis, and digital microbead assays. We finally discuss the relevance and trends of the methods in terms of high-level multiplexed analysis and their potential in diagnosis and personalized medicine. Contains 211 references.


Microbead Microbead array PCR Microfluidic Real-time Multiplex 



micro total analysis systems


asymmetric PCR


digital PCR




emulsion PCR


Förster resonance energy transfer


isothermal and chimeric primer-initiated amplification of nucleic acids


loop-mediated isothermal amplification


hydrogel bead-array


polymerase chain reaction


rolling circle amplification


recombinase polymerase amplification


single-nucleotide polymorphism


melting temperature


signal-to-noise ratio


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Rödiger
    • 1
  • Claudia Liebsch
    • 1
  • Carsten Schmidt
    • 1
  • Werner Lehmann
    • 2
  • Ute Resch-Genger
    • 3
  • Uwe Schedler
    • 4
  • Peter Schierack
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Natural SciencesBrandenburg University of Technology Cottbus - SenftenbergSenftenbergGermany
  2. 2.Attomol GmbHBronkowGermany
  3. 3.Division BiophotonicsBAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and TestingBerlinGermany
  4. 4.PolyAn GmbHBerlinGermany

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