Bioreactor Hack Night at Berkeley Biolabs (BBL)

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 2014/02/12
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Berkeley Biolabs


At Biomonstaaar we’re hacking our way to an affordable, open-source, robotic photobioreactor for growing microorganisms both on and off earth.

We’re dedicated to citizen science, DIYbio, sustainability both on and off earth, and the new space movement.

Join us and Sunny this Thursday night at Berkeley Biolabs: somewhere between the incredible nutrition profile of spirulina, the promise of algae biofuels, synthetic biology in our garages, and a nutrient recycling program on the way to Mars, you’ll be helping us build our way to a better future.


More about Biomonstaaar:

The BioMONSTAAAR is an open source, automated photobioreactor (PBR) initially designed for algae culture but with potential future applications in genetic engineering, bio-remediation, and space research.

The Problem

Growing algae presents several major challenges:

Scalability. Growing algae from Erlenmeyer flasks to production-sized pools is more than just a logistical problem. Sudden changes in volume are just one of many factors that can negatively affect algae growth and stocks require attentive monitoring.Sterility. Contamination is a serious problem because many contaminants, e.g. amoebas, tend to out-compete algae. Furthermore, some algae form biofilms that can alter their biochemistry in undesirable ways, damage equipment and contaminate future cultures.
Toxicity. Many algae species are sensitive to synthetic materials, e.g. plastics. Materials must be chosen carefully with the fragile biology of algae in mind.

Our Solution

BioMONSTAAAR intends to overcome the aforementioned challenges with the following architecture:

Water filtration systemMixing/sparging systemLighting system
Heating/cooling systemHarvesting systemSensors
ColorimeterActuators for all systems
Instrumentation will be integrated with a Raspberry Pi – Arduino micro-controller system that will upload sensor data in real time to a community accessible web application running on Google App Engine or similar cloud platform. A Graphical User Interface (GUI) will be developed to interface with the data, run analyses and remotely control the PBR.