© 2017 Hoffmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. For various experimental applications, microbial cultures at defined, constant densities are highly advantageous over simple batch cultures. Due to high costs, however, devices for continuous culture at freely defined densities still experience limited use. We have developed a small-scale turbidostat for research purposes, which is manufactured from inexpensive components and 3D printed parts. A high degree of spatial system integration and a graphical user interface provide user-friendly operability. The used optical density feedback control allows for constant continuous culture at a wide range of densities and offers to vary culture volume and dilution rates without additional parametrization. Further, a recursive algorithm for on-line growth rate estimation has been implemented. The employed Kalman filtering approach based on a very general state model retains the flexibility of the used control type and can be easily adapted to other bioreactor designs. Within several minutes it can converge to robust, accurate growth rate estimates. This is particularly useful for directed evolution experiments or studies on metabolic challenges, as it allows direct monitoring of the population fitness.
Hoffmann, S. A., Wohltat, C., Müller, K. M., & Arndt, K. M. (2017). A user-friendly, low-cost turbidostat with versatile growth rate estimation based on an extended Kalman filter. PLoS ONE, 12(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181923