Infoscience

Journal article

Development of a Miniature Bioreactor for Continuous Culture in a Space Laboratory

A new type of miniature bioreactor for continuous culture of yeast cells in space laboratories has been developed. Silicon microtechnology has permitted the integration of numerous functions and systems in a volume of 87 x 63 x 63 mm3 and a weight of 610 g. The 100 ml of fresh medium can be delivered at variable flow rates to the cultivation chamber (volume 3 ml) by means of a micropump. The culture is agitated by a magnetic stirrer. Microsensors monitor pH, temperature and redox potential. The decrease of pH occurring during the cultivation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is compensated electrochemically. A window allows the inspection of the culture status. Samples of up to 1 ml can be drawn through a silicone rubber septum. The data measured by the sensors are transmitted on-line to the ground station during operations in space. The bioreactor had to fulfil several requirements related to the safety regulation of the space agencies. In particular, new materials had to be selected and tested for their biocompatibility. The instrument has now passed all space and biological qualification tests and will be used in an experiment selected by ESA for the International Microgravity Laboratory-2 Mission in Spacelab in July 1994. This paper gives the results of the functional and biological tests and a detailed description of the instrument. | A new type of miniature bioreactor for continuous culture of yeast cells in space laboratories has been developed. Silicon microtechnology has permitted the integration of numerous functions and systems in a volume of 87×63×63 mm3 and a weight of 610 g. The 100 ml of fresh medium can be delivered at variable flow rates to the cultivation chamber (volume 3 ml) by means of a micropump. The culture is agitated by a magnetic stirrer. Microsensors monitor pH, temperature and redox potential. The decrease of pH occurring during the cultivation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is compensated electrochemically. A window allows the inspection of the culture status. Samples of up to 1 ml can be drawn through a silicone rubber septum. The data measured by the sensors are transmitted on-line to the ground station during operations in space. The bioreactor had to fulfil several requirements related to the safety regulation of the space agencies. In particular, new materials had to be selected and tested for their biocompatibility. The instrument has now passed all space and biological qualification tests and will be used in an experiment selected by ESA for the International Microgravity Laboratory-2 Mission in Spacelab in July 1994. This paper gives the results of the functional and biological tests and a detailed description of the instrument.

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