This paper reports on the characterization of an integrated micro-fluidic platform for controlled electrical lysis of biological cells and subsequent extraction of intracellular biomolecules. The proposed methodology is capable of high throughput electrical cell lysis facilitated by nano-composite coated electrodes. The nano-composites are synthesized using Carbon Nanotube and ZnO nanorod dispersion in polymer. Bacterial cells are used to demonstrate the lysis performance of these nanocomposite electrodes. Investigation of electrical lysis in the microchannel is carried out under different parameters, one with continuous DC application and the other under DC biased AC electric field. Lysis in DC field is dependent on optimal field strength and governed by the cell type. By introducing the AC electrical field, the electrokinetics is controlled to prevent cell clogging in the micro-channel and ensure uniform cell dispersion and lysis. Lysis mechanism is analyzed with time-resolved fluorescence imaging which reveal the time scale of electrical lysis and explain the dynamic behavior of GFP-expressing E. coli cells under the electric field induced by nanocomposite electrodes. The DNA and protein samples extracted after lysis are compared with those obtained from a conventional chemical lysis method by using a UV–Visible spectroscopy and fluorimetry. The paper also focuses on the mechanistic understanding of the nano-composite coating material and the film thickness on the leakage charge densities which lead to differential lysis efficiency.

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