Traditional cold chain systems of collection, transportation, and storage of biofluid specimens for eventual analysis pose a huge financial and environmental burden. These systems are impractical in pre-hospital and resource-limited settings, where refrigeration and electricity are not reliable or even available. Here, we develop an innovative technology using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a novel class of organic-inorganic hybrids with high thermal stability, as encapsulates for preserving the integrity of protein biomarkers in biofluids under ambient or non-refrigerated storage conditions. We encapsulate prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in whole patient plasma using hydrophilic zeolitic imidazolate framework-90 (ZIF-90) for preservation at 40 °C for 4 weeks and eventual on-demand reconstitution for antibody-based assays with recovery above 95% compared to storage at −20 °C. Without ZIF-90 encapsulation, only 10-30% of the PSA immunoactivity remained. Furthermore, we demonstrate encapsulation of multiple cancer biomarker proteins in whole patient plasma using ZIF-8 or ZIF-90 encapsulants for eventual on-demand reconstitution and analysis after 1 week at 40 °C. Overall, MOF encapsulation of patient biofluids is important as climate change may be affecting the stability and increase costs of maintaining biospecimen cold chain custody for the collection, transportation, and storage of biospecimens prior to analysis or for biobanking regardless of any countries’ affluence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18598-18607
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 19 2023


  • biopreservation
  • metal−organic framework
  • plasmon-enhanced fluoroimmunoassay
  • plasmonic-fluor
  • prostate-specific antigen


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