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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands

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.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.8.6 | Award Amount: 3.09M | Year: 2010

The aim of the SiNAPS project is to develop standalone dust-sized chemical sensing platforms that harvest energy from ambient electromagnetic radiation (light) and will enable miniaturisation below the current mm^3 barrier. Current solutions in nanoelectronics are enabled by new materials at the nanoscale. It is proposed to use high-density semiconductor nanowire arrays, such as Si and Ge, as efficient photovoltaic units and low-power chemical sensing elements on small volume modules to be integrated, via 3D system in a chip, in a miniaturised platform that transmits the acquired information wirelessly for further processing. To demonstrate the proof-of-concept without committing huge resources in optimization the SiNAPS project has set a pragmatic but ambitious, miniaturisation target ~10^8 m^3, beyond the state-of-the-art. With further development of the energy harvesting and sensing technology, 10^6 m^3 and below can be possible.\nSiNAPS brings together a consortium to address the two topics of the ICT-Proactive call, namely: (a) fundamentals of ambient energy harvesting at the nanoscale and (b) development of self powered autonomous sensor devices, with target dimensions of 1 mm^3. These topics are of great interest in the areas of energy supply, energy use in ICT, smart(er) buildings, medical diagnostics, e-health and integrated smart systems.\nSiNAPS involves the development of the capacity of nanowires for use as a nanoscale energy harvester and a (bio-)chemical sensor for the prototype biotin-streptavidin system via fundamental studies. Miniaturised CMOS electronics will be developed for efficient power management and sensor interface. Existing IP for wireless communication will be used to avoid costly development. The integrated modules will be used to demonstrate the SiNAPS mote concept. Concluding SiNAPS, a set of new technologies for self powered autonomous devices and beyond will be available for further development towards commercialisation.

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