Demonstration & Preliminary Data
Due to limitations in human resources, we chose to solve the second part of the process as well as create the culture management system. The reason for this is that these two parts are the parts applied to any replication of this automated metabolic pathway control system.
To date, we have successully manufactured syringe pumps capable of dispensing highly accurate amounts of inducers. By design, our stepper motor's ability to make 200 steps in a full rotation paired with a smooth low-pitch threaded rod allow movements magnitudes more precise compared to hand-operation. View a video of an earlier syringe pump prototype in action here.
Our constant-volume culture setup, modeled after the Chemostat developed by the Dunham Lab at the University of Washington, works with incredible reproducibility. When overflowing with excess medium in a positive-pressure system, the tube is guaranteed to dispense excess media into an overflow bottle.
With our mechanical components functioning as expected, we have started initial testing of the setup using high quality water-soluble dyes as substitutes for metabolite products. The data we collect on colors and their products when mixed can be processed using machine learning algorithms to efficiently understand their complex relationships.