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Growth monitoring of Fibrobacter succinogenes by pressure measurement


In life support systems, such as the MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support Alternative) project, developed by the European Space Agency, the aim is to understand and assemble artificial ecosystems for ensuring human subsistence in space. Fibrobacter succinogenes, an anaerobic bacterium, was used for the degradation of vegetable wastes produced in higher plants chambers, but the process does not allow the monitoring of biomass concentration and degradation rates. This study proposes a growth and a degradation monitoring technique using pressure measurements. First, volatile fatty acids (VFA) production was compared with biomass growth and with CO2 production. The experiments were carried out in batch and fed-batch processes on glucose and on vegetables. The results have shown that a link could be established between VFA production, degradation rate and gas pressure measurements. Thus, the pressure could be used both as a relevant variable for online evaluation of biomass growth and of degradation of complex vegetable wastes.

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This work was supported by European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC) in the framework of the Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELiSSA project) through the Microgravity Application Program (“Total Liquefaction and Biosafe Compartment for MELiSSA” project).

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Correspondence to G. Christophe.

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Christophe, G., Guiavarch, E., Creuly, C. et al. Growth monitoring of Fibrobacter succinogenes by pressure measurement. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 32, 123–128 (2009).

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  • Anaerobic fermentation
  • Fibrobacter succinogenes
  • Growth monitoring
  • CO2 production
  • Vegetable degradation