Bioreactors are used for light sensitive biological processes such as the growing of algae for use in manufacturing processes to produce biological material. The efficiency of these processes depends on the light intensity and wavelengths of the light used. Traditional systems involve large-scale apparatus lit by external light sources which can result in nonhomogenous light distribution and uneven growth and clumping of microorganisms leading to the efficiency of production of final products.
This invention describes a self-contained photo-bioreactor that is compact and which has an internal light distribution that allows for better and more even growth of microorganisms which results in a more efficient manufacturing process. The growth of well-maintained microorganisms is valuable for a number of sectors such as the cosmetic industry in order to produce high quality colorants in a cost effective manner. Similarly this invention could also aid pharmaceutical companies in the production of medical products. A key factor of this invention is a feedback control feature which regulates the quantity and quality of light entering the reactor which also serves to save on energy consumption when high light levels are not required.
Swansea University spin out company, Cambrian Phycosystems are taking these bioreactors to market in field of the development and production of biopharmaceuticals.
A UK patent has been granted for this technology and is owned by Swansea University under GB2482083.
Inventors: Kevin J Flynn, Chris Greenwell, Robert Lovitt & Robin Shields