Several types of bioreactors (also called Experiment Units or EU) and Experiment Containers have been developed by Kayser Italia in support to investigations of biological systems inside the KUBIK incubator. EUs reduce a laboratory into a hand-sized electromechanical device that allows the autonomous execution of a scientific protocol, being designed to contain the cell culture and all the chemicals (culture medium, wash buffers, fixatives, etc.) required by the experiment. These bioreactors have supported investigations in space on a variety of biological models: human and animal cells and tissues (immune cells, muscle and bone cells, mesenchymal cells, hematopoietic stem cells, breast cancer cells, endothelial cells, retinal epithelial cells), yeast, bacteria, algae, small animals (tardigrades, scorpions, Xenopus laevis, Caenorhabditis elegans and rotifers) and plants (carrot seeds and Arabidopsis thaliana).

Bioreactors Catalog

KEU-MM

MAIN FEATURES

Each KEU-MM Experiment Unit contains 3 Culture Bags (CB) capable of growing small animals (i.e. worms). The three CBs are totally independent and are filled with the live animals and their food into a liquid solution.

The Culture Bags features a flexible, transparent and semipermeable membrane allowing either gas exchange between the CB and the external environment and also CB to change its volume in case of freezing. Moreover, the transparency of the semipermeable membrane allows the visual observation of the culture without disassembling the unit. After re-entry on Earth both the animals and the process fluids can be retrieved for analysis.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 0
Fluidic actuators 0
Fluidic actuators type A
Fluidic reservoirs 3
Culture chambers 3
Levels of Containment  (LoC) 0
Fluidic System Volume A
Automatic control NO
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size ≈ 84x42x20 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 40 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into KIC-NLA (no LoC)
Compatible Controller   NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

 QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Progress – Soyuz – Dragon – Cygnus
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Missions (ISS)

FUNCTION

The KEU-MM Experiment Unit is planned to be used to determine the molecular causes of muscle abnormalities during spaceflight, and target these to establish effective countermeasures and future therapeutic developments. The biological sample is composed of liquid cultures containing larvae and liquid bacterial feed to allow population growth.

Each KEU-MM Experiment Unit (EU) is made of plastic bags with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the CBs is avoided due to proper sealing of the CBs. The EU itself doesn’t provide any Level of Containment (LoC).

 The unit is fully passive; no activations or fluids movement are foreseen.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2018 MME PI Nathaniel Szewczyk (University of Nottingham)

KEU-XE

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-XE Experiment Unit is a device capable of providing an aquaria-like environment for investigating small aquatic Metazoa (e.g. Xenopus laevis or Zebra fish) or Algae. The KEU-XE features a feeding system relying on osmotic pump.

Two walls of the device consist of permeable membranes to guarantee gas homeostasis. The fluidics consisting of a peristaltic pump (external) lined with a filter with active charcoal allows to regenerate the water. The water recirculation rate is tunable and led by the KEU-XE controller electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the XENOPUS Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures. Samples can be kept alive until re-entry on Earth.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 1
Fluidic actuators 0
Fluidic actuators type PERISTALTIC PUMP (required externally)
Fluidic reservoirs  1
Levels of Containment (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Features integrated OSMOTIC PUMP
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size  ≈ 85x48x57 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 150 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  multiple KEU-XE fits into KIC-DLM (2 LoC)
Compatible Controller    KAB

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-XE Experiment Unit has been used to study Xenopous laevis tadpoles.

 Each KEU-XE Experiment Unit (EU) backbone is made of semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert.  The larger aquarium surfaces, respectively the rear and front wall, are made of a gas permeable membrane.  The EU itself provides one level of containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using KIC-DLM containers class. Each aquarium is provided with an independent fluidic system.

 On the whole, the fluidic system consists of a peristaltic pump, connecting silicon tubes, an aquarium, an osmotic pump, a filter acting as a waste control device and air permeable membranes for gas exchange. Basically, the force exerted by the peristaltic pump guarantees the fluid exchange within the aquarium; air permeable membranes guarantee gas homeostasis. An osmotic pump releases nutrients for Xenopous laevis tadpoles. A filtering device maintains water quality.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2008 XENOPUS PI Eberhard Horn (Univ. of Ulm) – Martin Gabriel (Univ. of Göttingen)

KEU-XE

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-XE Experiment Unit is a device capable of providing an aquaria-like environment for investigating small aquatic Metazoa (e.g. Xenopus laevis or Zebra fish) or Algae. The KEU-XE features a feeding system relying on osmotic pump.

Two walls of the device consist of permeable membranes to guarantee gas homeostasis. The fluidics consisting of a peristaltic pump (external) lined with a filter with active charcoal allows to regenerate the water. The water recirculation rate is tunable and led by the KEU-XE controller electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the XENOPUS Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures. Samples can be kept alive until re-entry on Earth.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 1
Fluidic actuators 0
Fluidic actuators type PERISTALTIC PUMP (required externally)
Fluidic reservoirs  1
Levels of Containment (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Features integrated OSMOTIC PUMP
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size  ≈ 85x48x57 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 150 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  multiple KEU-XE fits into KIC-DLM (2 LoC)
Compatible Controller    KAB

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-XE Experiment Unit has been used to study Xenopous laevis tadpoles.

 Each KEU-XE Experiment Unit (EU) backbone is made of semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert.  The larger aquarium surfaces, respectively the rear and front wall, are made of a gas permeable membrane.  The EU itself provides one level of containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using KIC-DLM containers class. Each aquarium is provided with an independent fluidic system.

 On the whole, the fluidic system consists of a peristaltic pump, connecting silicon tubes, an aquarium, an osmotic pump, a filter acting as a waste control device and air permeable membranes for gas exchange. Basically, the force exerted by the peristaltic pump guarantees the fluid exchange within the aquarium; air permeable membranes guarantee gas homeostasis. An osmotic pump releases nutrients for Xenopous laevis tadpoles. A filtering device maintains water quality.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2008 XENOPUS PI Eberhard Horn (Univ. of Ulm) – Martin Gabriel (Univ. of Göttingen)

KEU-RK

MAIN FEATURES

Each KEU-RK Experiment Unit features two biomining reactors (BMR) capable of culturing microbial biofilms on the surface of a flat basalt slide. The two BMRs are totally independent and are equipped with reservoirs for chemicals and a culture chamber.

The culture chamber features a flexible, transparent and semipermeable membrane that allows both a gas exchange between the culture chamber and the external environment and the culture chamber to change its volume during the experiment. Moreover, the transparency of the semipermeable membrane allows the visual observation of the culture chamber without disassembling the unit.The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-RK electronics following a predefined timeline. After re-entry on Earth both the culture slide and the process fluids can be retrieved for analysis.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 2
Fluidic actuators 4
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 4
Culture chambers 2
Levels of Containment  (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size ≈ 83.5x42x30 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 115 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into KIC-SL-E3 class (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller   NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Progress – Soyuz – Dragon – Cygnus
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Missions (ISS)

FUNCTION

The KEU-RK Experiment Unit is planned to be used to study the effect of microgravity on the growth, proliferation and mining performance of specialized microbes, as well as the interaction between microbes and rock in a liquid medium.

 Each KEU-RK Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one Level of Containment(LoC) that is increased to two by using KIC-SL-E3 containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the on-board microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 The actions performed by the fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such mechanism releases the plungers inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC).

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2019 BIOROCK PI Charles Cockell (University of Edimburgh)

KEU-Y2

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-Y2 Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic cell culture of adherent cells on top of agar slab in microgravity. It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, or fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing cell growth.

The KEU-Y2 is equipped with a permeable membrane to grant for extinguish of CO2 overpressure, making the KEU-Y2 ideal for fermenting cells. Moreover, the KEU-Y2 allows the filtration of the cell culture in order to separate culture medium from the sample which is then fixed. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-Y2 electronic controller following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-Y2 Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be analyzed with molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 4
Fluidic actuators 4
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGER
Fluidic reservoirs  4
Culture chambers 1 each fluidic system (4 in total)
Gas exchange YES (membrane – CO2 release)
Levels of Containment (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size  ≈ 97x55x28 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 202 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  multiple KEU-Y2 fits into KIC-DLM (2 LoC)
Compatible Controller NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-Y2 Experiment Unit has been used to study Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

 Each KEU-Y2 Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semicrystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided thanks to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one level of containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using KIC-DLM containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the on-board microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 The fluidic concept carries out the experimental protocol which relies basically on two main steps, i.e. yeast growth in solid medium, and yeast fixation. On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are achieved by preloaded springs activated electrical actuators. Such mechanism releases the pistons inward displacing the fluids (Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). An inner system of channels and valves connect independently each reservoir to the corresponding CC so that cells are fixed (see figures below). Each CC is linked to an expandable volume located behind the piston to allow fluid injection. Short channels along with a permeable membrane also provide the release of CO2.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2009 YING-B2 PI Ronnie Willaert (Univ. of Bruxelles) – Luk Daenen (Univ. of Leuven)

KEU-Y1

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-Y1 Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic cell culture of non-adherent cells (i.e. cells that grow in suspension) in microgravity. It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing cell growth in suspension.

Moreover, the KEU-B1 allows the filtration of the cell culture in order to separate culture medium from the sample which is then fixed. The KEU-Y1 is equipped with a permeable membrane to extinguish CO2 overpressure, making the KEU-Y1 ideal for fermenting cells. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-Y1 electronic controller following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-Y1 Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be analyzed with molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies or cytofluorimetry.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 2
Fluidic actuators 1(shared between the two fluidic systems)
Fluidic actuators type PISTON (slow motion)
Fluidic reservoirs 2
Culture chambers 1 each fluidic system (2 in total – sample floats in)
Gas exchange YES (membrane – CO2 release)
Levels of Containment  (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control  YES
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size ≈ 90x48x18 mm
Experiment Unit mass  ≈ 140 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  multiple KEU-Y1 fits into KIC-DLM (2 LoC)
Compatible Controller KAB

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-Y1 Experiment Unit has been used to study Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces bayanus.

 Each KEU-Y1 Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semicrystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided thanks to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one level of containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using KIC-DLM containers class. The experiment requires an external controller but it can be made fully automatic depending on available volume within the KIC-DLM. If, so all the actions will be electrically controlled by a predefined timeline and housekeeping data could be recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 The fluidic concept carries out the experimental protocol which relies basically on three main steps, i.e. yeast activation and growth in liquid medium, yeast filtration, and yeast fixation. On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are achieved by a linear electrical actuator mechanism that drives the piston forward and backward pushing or sucking the fluids (Activator or Fixative) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). Each culture chamber is provided with a filter that makes possible to separate yeast cells by the growth medium. An inner system of channels and valves connects the reservoirs to the CCs so that cells are activated, fixed and the growth medium recovered (see figures below). Short channels along with a permeable membrane also provide the release of CO2.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2008 YING-B1 PI Ronnie Willaert (Univ. of Bruxelles) – Luk Daenen (Univ. of Leuven)

KEU-BA

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-BA Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic cell culture of bacteria in microgravity. It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium with activator, fixatives), a culture chamber allowing cell growth and, a reference culture chamber as internal experiment control.

The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-BA electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-BA Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be recovered and analyzed with molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 2
Fluidic actuators  4 (1 is shared)
Fluidic actuators type  PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 4
Culture chambers  2 EFS (main) + 1 REFS (reference)
Levels of Containment  (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size ≈ 80x39x19 mm / ≈ 80x39x29 mm (for expanded version)
Experiment Unit mass  ≈ 80 grams / ≈ 113 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  KIC-SL / KIC-SL-E (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller  NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-BA Experiment Unit has been used to study the growth of the Cupriavidus metallidurans CH 34 (ATCC43123), Bacillus turingensis sv. Kurstaki HD73 (ATCC35866) and Pseudomonas putida.

The KEU-BA Experiment Unit is provided with two fluidic systems: the Experiment Fluidic System (EFS) and the Reference Experiment Fluidic Systems (REFS). Two versions (standard and expanded) of the same hardware are available. The KEU-BA expanded version has the same functionalities but handles larger fluid volumes and provides a gas permeable air bag that makes the CC environment aerobic.

 Each KEU-BA Experiment Unit (EU) hardware is made of a semicrystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, and biologically inert. Cross contamination among the fluids chambers are avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The KEU-BA EU itself provides one Level of Containment (LoC) for both EFS and REFS. LoC is increased to two by using KIC-SL containers class (or KIC-SL-E for the KEU-BA expanded version). The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded on the microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the two fluidic systems are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such mechanism pushes the pistons inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). Each CC is provided with an expandable membrane to allow fluid injections. Short channels connect independently the reservoirs to the CCs so that cells are activated or fixed (see figures below).

REFERENCE EXPERIMENT

2008 BASE -B PI Natalie Leys (SCK•CEN Belgian Nuclear Research Centre)
2008 BASE-C  PI Natalie Leys (SCK•CEN Belgian Nuclear Research Centre)

KEU-RO

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-RO Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic cell culture of non–adherent cells (i.e. cells that grow in suspension) in microgravity. It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing cell growth in suspension.

The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-RO electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the ROALD Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures, down to -80°C. After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be analyzed with molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies or cytofluorimetry.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 4
Fluidic actuators  3 each fluidic system (6 in total with shared activation)
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 2 each fluidic system (8 in total)
Culture chambers 1 each fluidic system (4 in total)
Levels of Containment  (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume  ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size ≈ 82x39x19 mm
Experiment Unit mass   ≈ 72 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  KIC-SL (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller  NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR  Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTIONS

So far, the KEU-RO Experiment Unit has been used to study cell growth on lymphocytes.

 Each KEU-RO Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the fluids chambers are avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one Level of Containment (LoC) that is increased to two by using KIC-SL containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the on-board microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 The typical fluidic concept carries out the KEU-RO experimental protocol which relies on three main steps, i.e. T-lymphocytes activation, T-lymphocytes incubation, T-lymphocytes fixation. On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such  mechanism pushes the pistons inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into  the  chemicals  reservoirs  (Activator  or  Fixative  reservoir)  towards  the Culture Chamber (CC). Each CC is provided with a floating piston to allow an expandable volume for fluid injections.  Short channels connect independently the reservoirs to the CCs so that cells are activated or fixed (see figures below).

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2008 ROALD  PI Mauro Maccarrone (University of Teramo)
2011 RESLEM PI Natalia Battista (University of Teramo)
2017 SERISM PI Mauro Maccarrone (Campus Bio-Medico Univeristy of Rome)

KEU-XE

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-XE Experiment Unit is a device capable of providing an aquaria-like environment for investigating small aquatic Metazoa (e.g. Xenopus laevis or Zebra fish) or Algae. The KEU-XE features a feeding system relying on osmotic pump.

Two walls of the device consist of permeable membranes to guarantee gas homeostasis. The fluidics consisting of a peristaltic pump (external) lined with a filter with active charcoal allows to regenerate the water. The water recirculation rate is tunable and led by the KEU-XE controller electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the XENOPUS Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures. Samples can be kept alive until re-entry on Earth.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 1
Fluidic actuators 0
Fluidic actuators type PERISTALTIC PUMP (required externally)
Fluidic reservoirs  1
Levels of Containment (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Features integrated OSMOTIC PUMP
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size  ≈ 85x48x57 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 150 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  multiple KEU-XE fits into KIC-DLM (2 LoC)
Compatible Controller    KAB

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-XE Experiment Unit has been used to study Xenopous laevis tadpoles.

 Each KEU-XE Experiment Unit (EU) backbone is made of semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert.  The larger aquarium surfaces, respectively the rear and front wall, are made of a gas permeable membrane.  The EU itself provides one level of containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using KIC-DLM containers class. Each aquarium is provided with an independent fluidic system.

 On the whole, the fluidic system consists of a peristaltic pump, connecting silicon tubes, an aquarium, an osmotic pump, a filter acting as a waste control device and air permeable membranes for gas exchange. Basically, the force exerted by the peristaltic pump guarantees the fluid exchange within the aquarium; air permeable membranes guarantee gas homeostasis. An osmotic pump releases nutrients for Xenopous laevis tadpoles. A filtering device maintains water quality.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2008 XENOPUS PI Eberhard Horn (Univ. of Ulm) – Martin Gabriel (Univ. of Göttingen)

KEU-OC

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-OC Experiment Unit is a device designed for supporting research on bone cells in microgravity. It is suitable for histological related studies.

It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (water, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing the positioning of a bone slice. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-OC electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-OC Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, bone slices can be recovered and analyzed by microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems  1
Fluidic actuators 2
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 2
Culture chambers 1
Levels of Containment (LoC) 1
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size ≈ 80x39x19 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 99 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into KIC-SL (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller KAB

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Unmanned Flight Carrier (Foton-M)
QUALIFIED FOR Unmanned Free-Flyers

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-OC Experiment Unit has been used to study the activity of the osteoclasts in microgravity.

 Each KEU-OC Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one Level of Containment (LoC) that is increased to two by using KIC-SL containers class.

 The experiment does not require manual activations that shall be electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the compatible KAB controller.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such mechanism releases the pistons inward displacing the fluid contained into the reservoir (Media Reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). To guarantee fluid injections within the CC a dedicated inner system of channels and valves gathers the exhausted growth medium (see figures below).The CC is connected to a reservoir provided with a floating piston to guarantee an expandable volume to allow fluid injection within the CC and independent media collecting.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2007 OCLAST PI Alberta Zallone (University of Bari)

KEU-AT

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-AT Experiment Unit is a device designed for supporting seed germination and plantlet grow in microgravity. Developed for Arabidopsis thaliana seeds, it is suitable for plant germination related studies.

It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (water, fixatives) and one culture chamber allowing seed germination. The scientific protocol is operated manually by the astronaut. At the end of the experiment the KEU-AT Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, plantlets can be recovered and analyzed by microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 2
Fluidic actuators 3 each fluidic system (6 in total)
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs  3 each fluidic system (6 in total)
Culture chambers  2
Levels of Containment (LoC) 2
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control NO
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size  ≈ 82x39x29 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 146 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  IBEX (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller Not Applicable

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz – STS)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-AT Experiment Unit has been used to study the germination and growth of seeds and plantlets of Arabidopsis thaliana.

 Each KEU-AT Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides two Levels of Containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using IBEX container. The experiment protocol required actions are manually performed by one crew member by using a dedicated available qualified tool. On request, the hardware can be made fully automatic with minor modifications.

 The fluidic concept carries out the KEU-AT experimental protocol which relies on three main steps, namely Arabidopsis thaliana seeds hydration, seeds germination, and plantlets fixation.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are led by manual linear actuators that push the plungers inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). A bar shaped tool is committed to perform both manual activation (green end) and manual fixation (red end) as well. Each tool end can operate solely on the activator or the fixative reservoir. Short channels connect the reservoirs to the CCs so that seeds are watered or fixed (see figures below).

To guarantee fluid injections within the CC a dedicated inner system of channels and valves leads the air behind the plungers’ reservoirs.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2007 AT-SPACE PI Klaus Palme (University of Freiburg)
2011 ArabidopsISS PI Stefano Mancuso (University of Firenze)

KEU-BI

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-BI Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic cell culture of bacteria on a model membrane in microgravity. It is suitable for biofilm related studies.

It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing cell growth. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-BI electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-BI Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures (freezer). After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be recovered and analyzed microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 2
Fluidic actuators  2 for each fluidic system (4 in total)
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 2 for each fluidic system (4 in total)
Culture chambers  2 (each one with its own air bag)
Levels of Containment (LoC) 2 for EFS (main) – 1 for REFS (reference)
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control YES
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size ≈ 82x39x19 mm
Experiment Unit mass  ≈ 81 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into  KIC-SL (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller   NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-BI Experiment Unit has been used to study the growth of the Xanthobacter autotrophicus on a model membrane in microgravity.

The KEU-BI hardware is provided with two fluidic systems: the Experiment Fluidic System (EFS) and the Reference Experiment Fluidic Systems (REFS) barely made of an aerobic Culture Chamber.

 Each KEU-BI Experiment Unit (EU) HW is made of a semicrystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, and biologically inert. Cross contamination among the fluids chambers are avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides two Levels of Containment (LoC) for the EFS and one LoC for the REFS that are respectively increased to three and two by using a KIC-SL containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded on the microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the EFS fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the controller electronics. Such mechanism pushes the pistons inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). A gas permeable air bag makes the CC environment aerobic. To allow liquid injections each CC is provided with an expandable membrane.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2007 BIOKIN-4 PI Janneke Krooneman (Bioclear B.V. – Groningen)

KEU-PK

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-PK Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing cell culture of non–adherent cells (i.e. cells that grow in suspension) in microgravity.

It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing cell growth in suspension. The scientific protocol is operated manually by the astronaut. At the end of the experiment the KEU-PK Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures, down to -80°C. After stowage and re-entry on Earth, cell cultures can be analyzed with molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies or cytofluorimetry.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 4
Fluidic actuators 1 each fluidic system (4 in total)
Fluidic actuators type PISTONS
Fluidic reservoirs 3 each fluidic system (12 in total)
Culture chambers 1 each fluidic system (4 in total)
Levels of Containment (LoC) 2
Fluidic System Volume ask for information
Automatic control  NO
On-Board Electronic Controller NO
Experiment Unit size ≈ 80x39x19 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 110 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into KIC-SLC (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller  Not Applicable   

 QUALIFICATION STATUS

QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz – STS)
QUALIFIED FOR Manned Flights – Use on ISS

 FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-PK Experiment Unit has been used to study cell growth on human monocytes and T-Cells, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces bayanus.

 Each KEU-PK Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the fluids chambers are avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides two Levels of Containment (LoC) that is increased to three by using KIC-SLC containers class. The mission required actions on the samples are manually performed by one crew member. The HW can be made fully automatic with some modifications.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are led by manual actuators acting on plungers. Two box shaped tools with four functional projections are used to act simultaneously on the four pistons performing manual activation and manual fixation. Each of the tools acts on the same pistons but can operate solely the activator or the fixative injection. Such mechanism releases the pistons inward the hardware body displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). Each CC is set on an air chamber which provides an expandable volume to allow fluid injections (see figures below).

 REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2007 PKINASE PI Millie Hughes-Fulford (NCIRE – University of California)
2014 NIH-1A PI Millie Hughes-Fulford (NCIRE – University of California)
2015 T-CELL PI Millie Hughes-Fulford (NCIRE – University of California)

KEU-ST

MAIN FEATURES

The KEU-ST Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic 2D cell culturing in microgravity.

It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, washing buffer, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing growth of adherent cells on a provided support for coverslips. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-ST electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-ST Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures, down to -80°C. After stowage and re-entry on Earth, 2D cell cultures can be analyzed by microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies. The STROMA design can be also exploited for 3D cell culturing.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Fluidic systems 1
Fluidic actuators 5
Fluidic actuators type PLUNGERS
Fluidic reservoirs 5
Culture chambers 1
 Levels of Containment (LoC)  1
 Fluidic System Volume   ask for information
 Automatic control   yes
On-Board Electronic Controller YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
Experiment Unit size ≈ 80x39x19 mm
Experiment Unit mass ≈ 105 grams (fully assembled)
Fits into KIC-SL (1 LoC)
Compatible Controller NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

QUALIFICATION STATUS

Qualified for Progress – Soyuz – Dragon – Cygnus
Qualified for Manned Missions (ISS)

FUNCTION

So far, the KEU-ST Experiment Unit has been used to study the behavior in microgravity of human immune system cells, endothelial cells, mesenchymal stem cells, breast cancer cells and, rodents thyroid cells, muscular cells, osteoclasts and macrophages.

 Each KEU-ST Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one Level of Containment (LoC) that is increased to two by using KIC-SL containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the on-board microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

 On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such mechanism releases the plungers inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). A manifold channels connect each reservoir to the CCs so that cells are activated or fixed (see figures below).

To guarantee fluid injections within the CC a dedicated inner system of channels and valves leads the exhausted growth medium behind the plunger’s reservoirs.

REFERENCE EXPERIMENTS

2006 STROMA PI Ranieri Cancedda (University of Genova)
2007 PITS PI Alberta Zallone (University of Bari)
2007 MYO PI Stefano Schiaffino (University of Padova)
2010 SPHINX PI Silvia Bradamante (ISTM CNR)
2015 CYTOSPACE PI Marco Vukich (KI), Alessandro Palombo (University of Roma)
2015 NATO PI Livia Visai (INSTM, University of Pavia)
2015 ENDO PI Debora Angeloni (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa)
2015 SCD PI Silvia Bradamante (ISTM CNR)