The KEU-BI Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic cell culture of bacteria on a model membrane in microgravity. It is suitable for biofilm related studies.

It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing cell growth. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-BI electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-BI Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be recovered and analyzed microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.



Fluidic systems 2
Fluidic actuators  2 for each fluidic system (4 in total)
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 2 for each fluidic system (4 in total)
Culture chambers  2 (each one with its own air bag)
Levels of Containment (LoC) 2 for EFS (main) – 1 for REFS (reference)
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size ≈ 82x39x19 mm
Experiment Unit mass  ≈ 81 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  KIC-SL (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller   NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)





Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS



So far, the KEU-BI Experiment Unit has been used to study the growth of the Xanthobacter autotrophicus on a model membrane in microgravity.

The KEU-BI hardware is provided with two fluidic systems: the Experiment Fluidic System (EFS) and the Reference Experiment Fluidic Systems (REFS) barely made of an aerobic Culture Chamber.

 Each KEU-BI Experiment Unit (EU) HW is made of a semicrystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, and biologically inert. Cross contamination among the fluids chambers are avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides two Levels of Containment (LoC) for the EFS and one LoC for the REFS that are respectively increased to three and two by using a KIC-SL containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded on the microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the EFS fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the controller electronics. Such mechanism pushes the pistons inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). A gas permeable air bag makes the CC environment aerobic. To allow liquid injections each CC is provided with an expandable membrane.




2007 BIOKIN-4 PI Janneke Krooneman (Bioclear B.V. – Groningen)

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