The potential for encapsulating RNA within tunable, semi-permeable structures for storage and transportation purposes offers an interesting approach to the reduction of stringent storage requirements that often hamper the field application of genetic analysis methods. In this study, we assessed the potential for application of functionalized, porous silicate sorbents in maintaining nucleic acid integrity. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) with and without incorporated stabilizing reagents were used to encapsulate triosephosphate isomerase mRNA of Arabidopsis thaliana. The absorption, elution, and the long-term stability of the RNA were monitored by using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. The results indicate that adsorbed RNA can be eluted from the sorbents using simple buffers and employed directly for downstream molecular diagnostic assays without any further processing. RNA integrity can be maintained for extended time periods under refrigeration temperatures in the presence of covalently immobilized stabilizing compounds. This study provides initial evidence of the potential for application of MSNs in transportation and storage. They may also have utility in sample collection and processing in restrictive environments.
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