Degradable biopolymers are used as carrier materials in drug delivery devices. A complete understanding of their degradation behaviour is thus crucial in the design of new delivery systems. Here we combine a reliable method, based on spray coated micromechanical resonators and a disposable microfluidic chip, to characterize biopolymer degradation under the action of enzymes in controlled flow condition. The sensing platform is based on the mechanics and optics from a Blu-Ray player, which automatically localize individual sensors within the array, and sequentially measure and record the resonance frequency of up to twelve resonators within 4 min. Such fast and automated measuring technology, combined with the use of thin polymers layers in the degradation experiments, allows to reduce the experimental time needed for degradation studies from 6 weeks to 8 h. We first present a full characterization of sensor properties and then perform degradation studies of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) in steady flow for three different enzyme concentrations. The degradation has been performed in liquid environment. Before each resonator measurement, the measuring chamber has been automatically dried, since the resonator characteristics are much approved when measuring in air compared to liquid. The obtained degradation profiles are comparable to profiles obtained by conventional approaches, which have shown to require up to 6 weeks of experimental time frame.
- Biopolymer degradation
- Sensing system
- Micromechanical resonator
- High throughput sensing system