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Topic: Help needed in creating bacteria monitor. (Read 7564 times) previous topic - next topic


Hi I was wondering if anyone knows how to make a shield for the Arduino that could monitor bacteria. So heat, growth, health maybe or what mutations/if it has mutated.


Can you tell more about the bacteria experiment?

some quick ideas - thinking oud loud:

- An Arduino can measure environmental params easily - temperature, humidity, pressure
- there are libraries for gas sensors
- there is code on the forum for PH measurements.

Furthermore assuming the bacteria are in a petri dish you can illuminate them with diferent colors (including IR and UV led) of light and measure
- reflection, absorbtion and pass through with light sensors. =>>  absorption = LIGHTIN - reflection - passthrough

- You can switch a laser "burning" the bacteria and measure new gasses.

All these measurements will change over time (or not) which indicates growthrate or productivity or ...

Of course you need to build up calibration and reference tables to interpret the data you get

(no microbiologist so all disclaimers apply :)

Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)


If the bacteria are in liquid culture, you can measure their population density as optical density. 

Mutation happens on a genetic level, so to monitor for mutation you will need a gene sequencer.  I think that is a little beyond the Arduino's capabilities.
|| | ||| | || | ||  ~Woodstock

Please do not PM with technical questions or comments.  Keep Arduino stuff out on the boards where it belongs.


Mutation happens on a genetic level, so to monitor for mutation you will need a gene sequencer.  I think that is a little beyond the Arduino's capabilities.

OpenPCR is built on an Arduino. ;)


I dont have much idea about shield for arduino that could monitor bacteria but can suggest you that information related to arduino can be gathered from there site.



I did Microbiology at Uni, but still all disclaimers apply  ;)

I think a good suggestion is to use the arduino to monitor and log environmental variables in a liquid culture, such as pH and turbidity and temperature etc..

Turbidity can be correlated with the number of bacteria in suspension and so can indicate growth rate in a well mixed liquid culture.

Using gene sequencing to look for mutations is a good idea if you can afford the kits and send the sequences off to the lab. However there are lots of bacterial strains that have well identified mutations you can get off the shelf. Some of these are reversible and individuals mutate and "revert" to wild type, especially under exposure to toxins and radiation eg UV light.

So for instance a mutant strain that cannot make arginine, cannot grow unless arginine is provided in the culture medium. If you expose your arginine-dependent culture to UV and it grows, you are getting mutations. All you have to do is measure the growth rate indirectly using the arduino eg using turbidity, log the data and graph it. There is is always a natural low rate of reversion anyway, so you need a control experiment too.

I hope that helps.


Craig Turner, blog: http://gampageek.blogspot.co.uk/ It helps with my learning if I write things down, esp. for others to follow (constructive comments welcomed to improve)

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