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Technology

Phenometrics Environmental Photo Bioreactor™

June 21, 2012

Phenometrics ePBR v1.0

Phenometrics ePBR v1.0

The computer controlled Environmental Photo BioReactor (ePBR™) from Phenometrics recreates the environmental conditions such as temperature, light intensity and CO2, enabling scientists to study algae under the same conditions found outdoors in the ponds, but in the more efficient confines of the laboratory.

Researchers can use the ePBR™ to set specific parameters to maintain consistency between experiments. Most importantly, the ePBR™ enables reproducibility, a key factor in algae research experiments.

Each ePBR™ is also a measurement instrument, quantifying growth rates, pH, and other factors in the algae culture vessel, which are displayed on the computer monitor in a graph or data display. It is customizable to accommodate various probes and sensors that monitor algae culture and growth metrics:

  • Variable intensities up to full sunlight (>2000 umol photons m-2 s-1)
  • Pond depth and light penetration reproducing natural conditions in raceways
  • Mixing by sparging or stirring (to simulate raceways)
  • Ability to control and adjust temperature over diurnal cycles
  • Ability to control CO2 and other gasses
  • Continuous measurements of turbidity to estimate growth rates
  • Ability to vary conditions in complex ways by computer
  • Customizable with specialized probes
Matrix of ePBRs in the Kramer lab

Matrix of ePBRs in the Kramer lab

The high throughput data is monitored and controlled via computer with Algal Command or Internet connection in real time. The PBRs can be customized with additional sensors or probes to match the specific research parameters.

The ePBR matrix technology was originally invented in the Kramer lab in the DOE Plant Research Laboratories at Michigan State University. Dr. David Kramer and his team of scientists and engineers invented the prototype to support the Kramer Lab’s algae research.

This technology was presented in a lecture to the members of the NAABB at a conference, who recognized that this instrument could shorten research trials and allow for high throughput data analysis. NAABB provided a grant to continue to develop the technology and ordered 60 ePBRs through Phenometrics, which has a license to commercialize the technology.

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