Biological Systems Laboratory (BERL-030)

The Laboratory is currently being developed to support research on biological and ecological systems for the provision of fuels, food, and ecosystem services.biological systems The research will include the development of methods and procedures for the cultivation of algal biofilm systems for pollution recovery and biomass production for valuable products such as biofuels or pharmaceuticals.

Research in the laboratory will focus on the techniques for the culturing, cultivation, and processing of algal biomass for the provision of fundamental and secondary functional needs. The laboratory will be equipped to support the culturing of axenic, unialgal, and mixed algal communities, and will support research in assembly rules for sustainable complex microbial ecosystems for functional end-use. The laboratory will have the capabilities to measure and monitor the metabolism of microbial systems and employ that information for fine-scale control of culturing and cultivation processes.

To support these research efforts, the laboratory will include the latest in material and analytical capabilities to support the culturing of phototrophic microbial ecosystems of various attached and suspended physiologies at multiple scales. The laboratory will include a custom state-of-the-art laminar flow biofilm photobioreactor for the culturing of phototrophic biofilm communities, and an orbital mixing photobioreactor for the culturing of suspended phototrophic communities. These will provide the ability to culture and isolate different strains and communities of algae in mixed and uniagal consortia. Additionally, the laboratory will include a process-controlled bioreactor for finely-controlled metabolic culturing of heterotrophic microorganisms in aerobic and anaerobic conditions, which will allow investigation into biological down-stream processing and refining of biomass for biofuel and nutriceutical products. 

Laboratory Equipment:

•Flow-through photobioreactor metabolic chambers, instrumented with a Unisense microelectrode system, for precise measurement of biofilm metabolic characteristicsbiological lab

•Computer controlled bioreactor

•UV/vis spectrophotometers to assess proteins, starches, and nutrient concentrations in biomass and growth substrate

•Fluorometer for assessing lipid, starch, and pigment content of algal biomass

•Lachat nutrient analyzer for rapid through-put of nutrient analyses on water used as growth substrate

•Optical compound and dissecting microscopes for algal species identification and micro-structural biofilm analyses

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2015