MELISSA: A loop of interconnected bioreactors to develop life support in Space

F. Gòdia, J. Albiol, J. L. Montesinos, J. Pérez, N. Creus, F. Cabello, X. Mengual, A. Montras, Ch Lasseur

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    115 Citations (Scopus)


    The development of a loop of interconnected continuous bioreactors, aimed to provide life support in space, is reported. The complete loop concept consists of four bioreactors and one higher plant compartment. For its realization the continuous and controlled operation of the bioreactors is characterized, up to the pilot scale level, first for each individual reactor, second for the interconnected reactor operation. The results obtained with the two more advanced bioreactors in the Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELISSA) loop are described more specifically. These reactors consist of a packed-bed reactor working with an immobilized co-culture of Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter cells, and an external loop gas-lift photobioreactor for the culture of the cyanobacteria Spirulina platensis. Their individual operation for long duration runs has been achieved and characterized, and their interconnected operation at pilot scale is reported. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319-330
    JournalJournal of Biotechnology
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2002


    • Advanced life support
    • Closed ecological systems
    • Continuous operation
    • Gas-lift bioreactors
    • Packed-bed bioreactors


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