A method is proposed for determining the concentration of albumin (ALB) in human whole blood samples using a 3-dimensional (3D) microfluidic paper-based chip and a smart detection module. In fabricating the paper-based chip, the reaction area is implanted with bromocresol green (BCG) reagent and the device is stored in a nitrogen (N2) environment at a temperature of —15 °C until needed for use. In the detection process, 10 μl of whole blood is dropped onto the entrance area of the chip and the plasma within the sample diffuses through a separation channel into the reaction zone. A reaction is induced between the ALB in the plasma and the BCG reagent in the reaction area by heating the chip at 37 °C for 6 min. The ALB concentration is then detected using a colorimetry technique implemented on a cell phone in the form of a self-written app. It is shown that the detection results obtained for 40 pure ALB samples and 30 whole blood samples are consistent with those obtained using a traditional spectrophotometry method (R2 = 0.9837 and R2 = 0.9968). The proposed detection system thus provides a reliable tool for practical ALB determination purposes.
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