Compact optical sensor for real-time monitoring of bacterial growth for space applications

R. C. Van Benthem, D. Van Den Assem, Janneke Krooneman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


During long-duration manned space missions, complex chemical and biological processes need to be managed accurately for recycling human wastes and to produce human consumables. As a result, there is increasing interest in how the characteristics of microbes are influenced by microgravity. Compact optical instrumentation allows for real-time and non-invasive measurement of bacterial growth parameters during flight experiments. In close collaboration, the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) and Bioclear Environmental Biotechnology developed and tested an on-line optical biomass sensor successfully. The sensor concept is based on a turbidity measurement technique operating in the VIS-blue part of the light spectrum with use of blue LED sources. A diagnostic tool has been developed using compact spectrometers and optical fibers to characterize bacterial cultures. As a result a few sensor applications operating at different colors and sensor layouts are discussed in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-555
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteriële groei
  • troebelheidssensor


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