Blister pouches for effective reagent storage on microfluidic chips for blood cell counting

  • Suzanne Smith
  • René Sewart
  • Holger Becker
  • Pieter Roux
  • Kevin Land
Research Paper


We present the analysis of blister pouches for reagent storage and release into microfluidic devices towards point-of-care blood cell counting applications. Blister pouches provide an effective reagent storage mechanism and can be mounted onto microfluidic cartridges directly. Reagents can be released from blister pouches through automated or manual compression and consequent rupturing of the pouches. A microfluidic device for metering of blister pouch contents was developed and investigated as part of this work, as precise volumes of reagents are often required when performing reactions, and particularly for blood cell counting applications which are the focus of this study. The metering device shows high accuracy and repeatability with an error of 1.93% and standard deviation of 3.1% across 30 test results. This work also investigates important blister pouch characteristics for three different types of blister pouch foil materials, including forces required to burst the blister, as well as shelf life and reagent compatibility of the blisters. Typical forces required are in the range of 25–35 N depending on the blister foil material used. Blister shelf life can be greatly affected by the reagent being stored, and thus, the blister foil material choice is crucial. This work provides a clear understanding of the implementation required to ensure that the blister pouches can be effectively used on microfluidic chips, with an example application area being point-of-care diagnostics.


Blister pouch Microfluidics Reagent storage Reagent metering Point-of-care diagnostics 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa, for funding this project. Part of the work carried out at microfluidic ChipShop GmbH was financially supported by the European Union in an FP-7 Grant under the project “Routine”, Grant Agreement No. 304941, by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) through the Project “IMRA”, FKZ: 031A094C and the Project “MRCyte”, FZK 13N12018. The authors thank all project partners for their contributions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Science and ManufacturingCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Microfluidic ChipShop GmbHJenaGermany

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