Coordinator: JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH
Duration: 43 months, from September 2016 to March 2020
Total Budget from EU: € 759,453.89
Description and mission
Development and production of film-based electrophoresis chips for ion analysis in biotechnology.
For a sustainable nutrient management and thus an efficient control of production processes in biotechnology, an exact and direct analysis by appropriate sensors and measuring systems is necessary. Current analytical methods are either laboratory-dependent and expensive, not universally applicable enough or susceptible and inaccurate. Capillary electrophoresis is a suitable method for the simultaneous analysis of nutrient ions with a mobile measuring device. For use in production control in bioprocess technology and agricultural technology, this method requires microfluidic chips as consumables in large quantities and at low cost. Within this project, a high-throughput production technology for such capillary electrophoresis chips is to be developed based on a continuous roll-to-roll embossing process for structuring plastic foils as well as downstream process steps for electrode application, lamination, etc. The project will develop novel microfluidic chips for capillary electrophoresis. These chips have to meet the special requirements in production control and bioprocess technology (e.g. complex sample composition) on the one hand and on the other hand have to be compatible with innovative roll-to-roll production processes.
Our role in the project
Pessl Instruments has excellent knowledge of the requirements for measuring instruments and the needs in the agricultural sector and has excellent market access for later recycling. Pessl is a leader in the development of measuring systems in this field and has a high level of competence in electronics development. Within the framework of a European research project, Pessl has developed a system together with other partners for the measurement of ions from soil samples using the method of capillary electrophoresis on a microfluidic chip. Extensive know-how in the basic measuring method of capillary electrophoresis and in the electrochemical measuring technology required for this was built up. For the further improvement of the functionality and the development of a cost-effective and mass production technology, deeper competences in polymer processing and microsystem technology are necessary.
In this project, Pessl Instruments is responsible for sales and production of the μCE chips as well as the evaluation units. Pessl will be able to expand its product range with a new and inexpensive device for ion analysis and thus open up completely new fields of application in bioprocess technology beyond the agricultural sector. Significant synergies with the existing product portfolio are expected.
The cooperation with Joanneum Research gives Pessl Instruments the opportunity to gain access to and insight into current research results in the fields of sensor technology and microstructuring methods.
This enables the use of state-of-the-art research, pilot plant and clean room infrastructure for the further development of lab-on-chip and sensor systems. The close, project-related cooperation offers special potential for further joint developments of innovative concepts, not least due to the immediate local proximity.
The cooperation with ecoduna allows Pessl Instruments to understand the requirements of ion measurement technology in bioprocess monitoring in detail and to align its measuring instrument development accordingly. This provides valuable know-how in connection with the interesting market segment “bioprocess technology” and creates long-term advantages for a future market entry.