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Research Micro- and Photo-bioreactors

We are developing anaerobic micro-bioreactors to grow anaerobic microogranisms in pure cultures. For example, we have developed a micro-bioreactor with a total volume of 5 microliters to study the growth optimum of one of the most oxygen-senstive microbes around - the methanogen Methanosaeta concilii (shown on the home page). The micro-bioreactor is contained in an anaerobic chamber specifically designed to be placed directly onto an inverted light microscope stage, while maintaining anaerobic conditions. You can read about our microfluidic device that was operated under strict anaerobic conditions in an AEM research paper. We also have developed a micro-BES (bioelectrochemical system) that was described in a ChemSusChem research paper.

In addition, our lab collaborates with David Erickson to develop a photobioreactor with the goal to scale this up for industrial-scale bioenergy production with sunlight. Above is a picture with different LEDs. Belowis shown a picture of our conventional plate reactor; the technology that we are currently developing is a completely different concept and based on waveguides to deliver light to algae inside the bioreactor. Recently, we coupled the innovative photobioreactor with an abiotic electrochemical cell to deliver electrons to Rhodopseudomonas palustris (paper and cover in ES&TLetters).


Photobioreactor pictures with LEDs on