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Anal Chem. 2014 Apr 15;86(8):3994-4001. doi: 10.1021/ac500353y. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

A fiber-optic sensor for accurately monitoring biofilm growth in a hydrogen production photobioreactor.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Low-grade Energy Utilization Technologies and Systems, Chongqing University , Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400030, China.


A new simple fiber-optic evanescent wave sensor was created to accurately monitor the growth and hydrogen production performance of biofilms. The proposed sensor consists of two probes (i.e., a sensor and reference probe), using the etched fibers with an appropriate surface roughness to improve its sensitivity. The sensor probe measures the biofilm growth and change of liquid-phase concentration inside the biofilm. The reference probe is coated with a hydrophilic polytetrafluoroethylene membrane to separate the liquids from photosynthetic bacteria Rhodopseudomonas palustris CQK 01 and to measure the liquid concentration. We also developed a model to demonstrate the accuracy of the measurement. The biofilm measurement was calibrated using an Olympus microscope. A linear relationship was obtained for the biofilm thickness range from 0 to 120 μm with a synthetic medium under continuous supply to the bioreactor. The highest level of hydrogen production rate occurred at a thickness of 115 μm.

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