DIY: Paper-based colorimetric biochemistry

In few years blood extraction to obtain biochemical health paramaters will be obsolete and substitute by paper-base colorimetry.


Teenagers with 3D printers are the artifices of analysis that cost just few cents and solve real problems: Heart diseases,  cancer diagnosis… because colorimetry is linearly related with substrate concentration.


  • Intensity derived from RGB histogram analysis provides a quantitative measure of the cholesterol.
  • Color intensity varied linearly with cholesterol concentration (100 to 400 mg/dL) for the dyes TMB, 4-AAP, ADHP
  • Further linear analysis shows an R2  > 0.9 indicating a strong correlation between color intensity and cholesterol concentration.
  • TMB: the green-blue color changed in 30 seconds, suited for mid-range concentrations since double oxidation ocurrs at concentrations >300 mg/dL producing spots with yellow hues.
  • 4-AAP: orange color change in 6 min; homogenous color, greater differentiation for low concentrations
  • ADHP: vibrant magenta color change in 60 seconds, suited for higher concentration

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