abberior dyes & labels
Environmental science & technology
Development of photochemical microsensors for evaluating photosynthetic light dose distributions in microalgal photobioreactors
Karam, A. L., de los Reyes III, F. L., & Ducoste, J. J.
Sensors, Electromagnetic radiation, Lagrangians
We describe the development and testing of a Lagrangian method for quantifying light dose distributions within photobioreactors (PBRs) using novel photochemical microsensors. These microsensors were developed using 3-μm microspheres coated with a fluorescent dye that responds to wavelengths of visible light that are critical for photosynthesis. The dose–response kinetics of the microsensors was established by varying known doses of collimated light and quantifying the fluorescence responses of individual particles using flow cytometry. A deconvolution scheme was used to determine the light dose distribution from the fluorescence distribution of the microsensors. As proof-of-concept, the microsensors were used to quantify the photosynthetic light dose distributions within a gently mixed, 3 L flat-plate, batch PBR with and without algae and no gas bubbling and without algae but with gas bubbling. The microsensor approach not only provided information about the photosynthetic light distributions within the PBRs but also predicted the average light attenuation due to algal cells within 1% of estimates made with an in situ light sensor. The results showed that bubbles, under the conditions tested, increased the overall light irradiance by 18%; a result not captured by static measurements. The Lagrangian microsensors provide a novel approach for quantifying light within a photobioreactor.