Systems biology research requires precise cultivation and monitoring of culture performance and dynamics. Unfortunately, most bioreactors available in the laboratory setting consume large volumes of growth media, making parallel culturing not feasible. Yet, parallelism is necessary for determining growth development parameters, characterization and optimization. Furthermore, a high degree of instrumentation is needed to achieve the level of network perturbation delivery required for systems biology strategies. To meet these needs, we have designed and built a fully automated multiplexing bioreactor.
The instrument simultaneously manages 16 independent cultures. Each culture can be grown in batch or controlled via chemostat, turbidostat or serial dilution modes. Furthermore, the instrument allows for automated perturbation of environmental cues (or stress), making it the ideal systems biology tool.