Extension of electrical engineering to bioengineering topics: magnetic fermentation and microfluidic nematode assays

Deutmeyer, Alex
Major Professor
Santosh Pandey
Committee Member
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) at Iowa State University added bioengineering to the department's list of strategic research areas in 2006. In an effort to foster a bioengineering center of excellence within the department and to promote multidisciplinary research, two bioengineering research projects were performed: magnetic fermentation and microfluidic nematode assay development. The background of these research topics, the work completed for each, and their future prospects are discussed in this thesis.

Fuel ethanol produced through fermentation has recently received attention during the search for eco-friendly, renewable energy sources. Previous research has been completed to observe the effects of magnetic fermentation but conflicting results have been reported. Research was performed to characterize the fermentation kinetics of S. Cerevisiae ATCCy 24859 at cell concentration loading rates from 102 to 107 CFU/mL and to determine the effects of magnetic field enhanced fermentation on cell growth and ethanol production. It was found that magnetic fields have no statistically significant affect on cell growth. Non-homogeneous static magnetic fields of 220 mT caused a 9% ethanol concentration peak enhancement over the control group for 2% dextrose loading experiments and a peak ethanol concentration six hours before the control group for 6% dextrose loading experiments.

Non-parasitic nematodes are common research subjects, but the characterization of parasitic nematodes has been limited by the versatility and resolution of available technology. A high resolution microfluidic assay for the measurement of parasitic nematodes' undulatory locomotive parameters was developed and tested. A characterization and comparison of these parameters for H. glycines and two isolates of O. dentatum revealed that a correlation between nematodes' undulatory parameters and their physiological state exists, suggesting prospects for new nematode migration and drug chemotaxis assays.