Multidetect aims to advance the state of the art in diagnostic testing based on Lateral Flow Assay (LFA) technology, enabling simultaneous detection of multiple analytes. LFAs are easy-to-use devices for the detection of analytes in liquid samples such as human or animal bodily fluids (e.g. blood or urine) or waste, ground or surface water. They are based on spontaneous flow of the sample liquid along a strip of (synthetic) paper. The most widely known example of an LFA is the home pregnancy test, which detects the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG in urine. This is a relatively simple test, since it is a qualitative assay (providing a yes/no answer) for which only a single analyte needs to be detected. However, many diagnostic tests are more complex and require the detection and/or quantification of multiple analytes.

In Multidetect, new multiplex LFAs are developed which enable simultaneous detection of different pig pathogens, enabling the fast and accurate on-farm diagnosis of several viral infections. One of the innovative features of these LFAs is the application of local hydrophobic nanocoatings, enabling the liquid flow to be guided to multiple detection spots. The developed assays will improve monitoring of animal welfare, food quality and food safety and therefore ultimately also human health.


At the core of a Lateral Flow Assay is a strip of a porous, hydrophilic membrane, enabling the sample liquid to flow through the strip spontaneously by capillary forces (wicking). Cellulose and nitrocellulose are often used for this purpose. Surfix’s local hydrophobic nanocoatings are used to define patterns of hydrophilic and hydrophobic areas, allowing the liquid to be guided to specific areas of the strip. This improves the performance of the LFA in several ways:

  • the detection line is replaced by several detection spots, enabling simultaneous detection of multiple analytes
  • the border of the detection spots is more well-defined, facilitating automated test analysis by a simple reader, e.g. a mobile phone
  • more efficient use of membrane space, decreasing analysis time and sample volume

The images on the right demonstrate the guided flow of water through a nitrocellulose membrane by Surfix’s local hydrophobic nanocoating. A hydrophilic flow path is defined on the nitrocellulose membrane. The flow path is filled by wicking upon dropwise addition of water to the circle at the bottom.

The time lapse movie below also demonstrates the principle of guided flow. In this case one flow paths is defined on the nitrocellulose membrane, flowing by the  to the end of the Surfix logo with the help of a soaked sponge of water with blue dye, respectively.

Surfix’s patterned hydrophobic nanocoating on nitrocellulose