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Design Of A Real Time Reconfigurable Bioreactor
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In this thesis we present the design of a reconfigurable continuous culture bioreactor that allows researchers to grow microorganisms in a controlled environment for long periods of time, as long as several months. The bioreactor monitors the experiment and measures the growth of microorganisms. A continuous culture bioreactor is an important tool that biologists use for research, most notably to study the response of bacteria towards drugs. This helps in the fight against the evolution of drug resistance in bacteria and other pathogens.The bioreactor acts like an isolated ecosystem. It periodically exposes the microorganisms to drugs that hamper their growth. One must understand that in each successive generation of the microorganisms in question, some random mutations occur in their gene pool. Some mutations enable the microorganisms to survive the drugs. Over the course of several thousand generations only the microorganisms that evolved drug resistance survive in the bioreactor. This process of natural selection is the same mechanism by which pathogens evolve drug resistance in the real world. Therefore studying this process helps us in developing drugs to counteract the threat of drug resistant pathogens.