Location-independent acquisition of process measurement signals in novel bioreactor systems

Typical measuring devices to monitor biotechnological processes represent a measured value only at one spot of the reactor and are mounted via a standard port on the bioreactor. Hence, no information concerning inhomogeneities can be derived from such data. Depending on the construction inhomogeneities can be inherent in the bioreactor system (e.g. tube reactors of several kilometers length for algae production) and make a single spot data acquisition pointless. In addition to that, typical sensor probes can affect the mixing and transport processes in bioreactors which can lead to undesired effects.

Product vision for the process measuring system Sens-o-Spheres in different cultivation environments.

The aim of this project is the development of a location-independent, fully autarkical, minimally disrupting micro measuring device, the so called Sens-o-Spheres. For that purpose, a typical measurement device for e.g. temperature, pH value, or dissolved oxygen is converted into a small sphere with 5 mm in diameter.

The sphere consists of
a) a system for wireless data transmission from the reaction volume,
b) an industrial microcontroller as the central control unit,
c) a miniaturised measuring device based on electric (MOSFET) as well as optical effects (OLED),
d) an innovative self-sustaining energy supply (e. g. with piezo actors),
e) a biocompatible encapsulation.

The BMBF-funded project enters a 2-year feasibility phase in Summer 2015 with a development consortium of 7 partners.

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