NASA EPSCoR: Whole Cell Immobilization Using SCF Technology For Use as Cell-Based Biosensors

Grants and Contracts Details


The overall objective of this investigation is to demonstrate the immobilization of microbial and mammalian cells in porous polymeric matrices using supercritical fluid technology. Specifically, polymer foams of poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) will be fabricated using supercritical carbon dioxide with desirable morphologies for applications in whole cell immobilization. The morphology and membrane flux will be characterized as a function of membrane casting thickness, weight percent of leaching agent, and foaming conditions. E. Coli and cloned rat embryo fibroblasts (CREF) will be fTeeze-dried and incorporated into the polymer foams. Cell viability and metabolic activity after exposing the cells to supercritical fluid conditions will be demonstrated. In addition, cell distribution throughout the polymer along with cell leakage will be investigated. Cell immobilization will be optimized by modifying morphology of the polymer as described above. While supercritical fluid technology has been successful for the incorporation of inorganic and protein powders into polymeric matrices, this is the first study of its kind where this process has been used to incorporate biological cells. The ultimate goal of this project is to incorporate whole cells into these polymeric matrices for use as cell-based biosensors. It is hypothesized that using this technique, we can produce active whole-cell based biosensors with long term stability for detecting environmental analytes and indices of human health during long term spaceflight. This project will include an active collaboration with investigators at NASA-Ames Research Center.
Effective start/end date8/1/0312/31/04


  • Western Kentucky University: $24,999.00


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