Measuring optimally with spheres — ScienceDaily

Bio-reactors are the cooking pots of biochemists and bio-technologists, during which pharmaceutical brokers, enzymes or nematodes are produced for the aim of organic pest management. A nutrient answer (similar to warmth, oxygen, acid or alkali) is used to manage the pH worth and the specified product is fashioned. The extra optimum the circumstances are, the better the yield will likely be. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed spherical probes to extra successfully monitor and streamline the manufacturing course of.

The proper temperature determines how nicely microorganisms or cells may be cultivated in a bioreactor. Although warmth within the reactor is distributed otherwise, temperature has up to now solely been capable of be measured selectively with rod probes inserted by predefined holes. “With our mobile sensor spheres, which are about the size of a pea, we can capture the temperature in many places at the same time. This makes it possible to accurately regulate the heat input so that it is optimal for the production process,” says Tobias Lüke, who has developed the brand new Sens-o-Spheres measuring spheres on the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in cooperation with scientists from the Technical University Dresden and challenge companions from trade. “At one liter, the temperature differences within a reactor are not that great. However, with several thousand liters, the degree of error increases considerably. With our precise measurement technology, there are fewer problems in upscaling the volumes, which means switching from small test reactors in the laboratory to large ones in the production hall.”

No limitations

Another benefit of the Sens-o-Spheres: While rod probes are tied collectively by cables, the spheres are outfitted with a chargeable battery. “The amount of installation effort is therefore quite low. The Sens-o-Spheres simply float in the medium, so they do not cause any disturbance, such as when stirring. In addition, they can be easily used in kilometer-long tube reactors and other innovative reactor types as well as in classic small cultivation vessels, such as the shake flask.”Common measuring programs have their limits on this regard,” explains Lüke.

The recorded knowledge is transmitted reside through radio to a base station. Each measurement is assigned to a selected sphere, as a result of every has its personal ID. The extra spheres there are, the extra correct the measurement will likely be. There isn’t any rule of thumb regarding what number of spheres are obligatory, although. The method is to make use of as many spheres as obligatory, and as few as potential.

Easy to reuse

After use, the spheres may be simply sterilized within the so-called autoclave, for the reason that electronics are sturdy and in addition securely enclosed by a capsule fabricated from polypropylene — neither moisture nor excessive temperatures of round 120 levels Celsius or extra (as is common in autoclaving) can hurt it. The spheres can subsequently be saved sterile, recharged by the use of a specifically designed inductive battery charging system, and reused.

Soon, the measuring spheres ought to be capable to detect not solely the temperature, but in addition the oxygen content material and the pH worth. “We also want to connect the base station to the overall system. Then, the manufacturing process could be automatically controlled based on the measured values. The spheres should also be able to be located so that it is known exactly where the measured value was recorded.”

The measuring spheres should not solely perfect for microbiological tradition and course of growth within the laboratory, however is also utilized in drug manufacturing, environmental measurement or screening within the discipline of drugs.

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Materials offered by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Content could also be edited for fashion and size.

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