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Monitoring of metabolites

Viscosity sensor with affinity-assay for glucose detection

The detection of small biological molecules represents an important task in bioprocess control – however, after decades of research and development the field still struggles with irreproducibilities, sensor drifts and instabilities of receptors. Various principles like electrochemical, optical, immunological techniques and others have been applied. The main advantage of microelectronics roots in the perspectives for miniaturization. In the last years, an increasing number of functionalities could be integrated into microelectronic chips – as could directly be observed by everyone for the case of ever smarter becoming smart phones.

The concentration of numerous small molecules would be of interest to be monitored in bioprocesses. Being a main energy source for bacteria, glucose represents the most important example. The figure displays a sensor chip that has been developed for glucose detection with an affinity assay and which occupies an area of 1.3 x 0.4 mm only. The microchip has been demonstrated to measure glucose concentrations cg in the relevant feeding range. In addition, important interactions between culture medium and bioreceptor have been investigated in our recently published study (Theuer et al. 2017).

Next to the test of glucose sensing principles in bioprocesses, activities of the Joint Lab in this field are related to the introduction of optical micro-ring resonators into automated process platforms.

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