The purpose of this 2-years project is to develop sensors and biosensors for on-line monitoring growth parameters of industrial bioprocesses for the production of algal biomass and antioxidant compounds such as Xanthophylls. As a model for the design and in-field testing, the following industrial process and culture system have been selected: the natural production of Astaxanthin from the green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis in a tubular photobioreactor.
Key parameters such as biomass, pigment content and accumulation profile during the induction process are now experimentally determined offline everyday at commercial production sites by means of complex manual analyses. This routine monitoring further increases production costs, being critical time consuming and requiring manpower. This is a major challenge faced by microalgae companies today, especially in the production of natural carotenoids in comparison with the relatively cheap synthetic analogues. SENSBIOSYN intends to offer a solution to the lack of existing devices able to provide online rapid automatic and reliable information on active compounds accumulation profile and efficacy during their biosynthesis. The proposed project will bring the following competitive advantages to microalgae companies: Increased production - online monitoring will ease decision about time of harvest and culture performance;
Reduction of production cost - the introduction of the proposed biosensors in the process control will allow to save work time and manpower and reduce the production cost by at least 30%, which is a big industrial breakthrough. Two optical sensors, for chlorophyll fluorescence measurement and culture medium density, and two electrochemical biosensors, based on the direct measurement of Phosphatidylcholine peroxidative damage by screen printed electrodes and the PSII activity by nanowire FETs, will be manufactured.
Funded under 7th FWP (Seventh Framework Programme)