A decade-long quest to build an ecosystem in a room

Yesterday the MELiSSA pilot plant at the University of Barcelona celebrated 10 years spent demonstrating the ideal technologies to recycle waste from space missions into air, water and food.

Bioreactor device helps frogs regenerate their legs

A team of scientists designed a device that can induce partial hindlimb regeneration in adult aquatic African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) by "kick-starting" tissue repair at the amputation site. Their findings, appearing ...

Digital penicillin production

TU Wien and Sandoz GmbH have successfully implemented a real-time computer simulation of the complex growth behaviour of penicillin producing organisms. This simulation now helps to keep the production process under control.

Shaken, and stirred: Scaling up bioreactors' fluid dynamics

Bioreactors are widely used to produce different therapeutics in the biopharmaceutical and regenerative medicine industries. Drug development relies on small multi-well plates shaken around an orbital diameter, while production-scale ...

Upstream trenches, downstream nitrogen

Water quality scientist Laura Christianson is working on a solution to the "dead zone"—an area with dangerously low levels of oxygen— in the Gulf of Mexico. Christianson lives over a thousand miles north of the Gulf in ...

Bioreactors ready for the big time

Last summer, the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone" spanned more than 6,400 square miles, more than three times the size it should have been, according to the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. Nitrogen runoff from farms along the Mississippi ...

ORNL cell-free protein synthesis is potential lifesaver

Lives of soldiers and others injured in remote locations could be saved with a cell-free protein synthesis system developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Bioreactor

A bioreactor may refer to any manufactured or engineered device or system that supports a biologically active environment. In one case, a bioreactor is a vessel in which a chemical process is carried out which involves organisms or biochemically active substances derived from such organisms. This process can either be aerobic or anaerobic. These bioreactors are commonly cylindrical, ranging in size from litres to cubic metres, and are often made of stainless steel.

A bioreactor may also refer to a device or system meant to grow cells or tissues in the context of cell culture. These devices are being developed for use in tissue engineering or biochemical engineering.

On the basis of mode of operation, a bioreactor may be classified as batch, fed batch or continuous (e.g. a continuous stirred-tank reactor model). An example of a continuous bioreactor is the chemostat.

Organisms growing in bioreactors may be suspended or immobilized. A simple method, where cells are immobilized, is a Petri dish with agar gel. Large scale immobilized cell bioreactors are:

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