Chemical and biomolecular analysis form an integral part of food contamination testing and healthcare diagnostics. The majority of the currently established detection methods are expensive, sophisticated and time consuming. Microfluidic-based lab-on-a-chip systems offer a promising alternative in this regard by enabling the development of simpler and relatively cost-effective platforms for analytical applications. In this work, we report the fabrication of a portable sensor platform using selective wax impregnation of cellulosic paper. The application of the fabricated paper-based lab-on-a-chip device is demonstrated for the qualitative and quantitative detection of starch contamination in milk using colorimetry. Integration of a detection procedure with smartphone imaging allows for on-the-spot data collection, thus overcoming the challenges of sample storage, handling and transportation to lab facilities. This approach offers a versatile method for diagnostic and sensing applications in resource-limited areas, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries.
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The authors gratefully acknowledge SRM Institute of Science and Technology for the use of services and facilities throughout the research work. The authors also thank Dr Prabhakar for insightful discussions.