Optimizing a Short-end Electrophoretically Mediated Micro-analysis (Emma) Assay for Creatinine

Date of Thesis



In this work electrophoretically mediated micro-analysis (EMMA) is used in conjunction with short end injection to improve the in-capillary Jaffé assay for creatinine. Key advances over prior work include (i) using simulation to ensure intimate overlap of reagent plugs, (ii) using OH- to drive the reaction, (iii) using short-end injection to minimize analysis time and in-line product degradation. The potential-driven overlapping time with the EMMA approach, as well as the borate buffer background electrolyte (BGE) concentration and pH are optimized with the short end approach. The best conditions for short-end analyses would not have been predicted by the prior long end work, owing to a complex interplay of separation time and product degradation rates. Raw peak areas and flow-adjusted peak areas for the Jaffé reaction product (at 505 nm) are used to assess the sensitivity of the short-end EMMA approach. Optimal overlap conditions depend heavily on local conductivity differences within the reagent zone(s), as these differences cause dramatic voltage field differences, which effect reagent overlap dynamics. Simul 5.0, a dynamic simulation program for capillary electrophoresis (CE) systems, is used to understand the ionic boundaries and profiles that give rise to the experimentally obtained data for EMMA analysis. Overall, fast migration of hydroxide ions from the picrate zone makes difficult reagent overlap. In addition, the challenges associated with the simultaneous overlapping of three reagent zones are considered, and experimental results validate the predictions made by the simulation. With one set of “optimized” conditions including OH- (253 mM) as the third reagent zone the response was linear with creatinine concentration (R2 = 0.998) and reproducible over the clinically relevant range (0.08 to 0.1 mM) of standard creatinine concentrations. An LOD (S/N = 3) of 0.02 mM and LOQ (S/N=10) of 0.08 mM were determined. A significant improvement (43%) in assay sensitivity was obtained compared to prior work that considered only two reagents in the overlap.


Capillary Electrophoresis, Bio-analytical Separations

Access Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Science



First Advisor

Timothy G. Strein

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