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.
|Fluidic actuators type||PLUNGER|
|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|
|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)|
|QUALIFIED FOR||Manned Flight Carrier (Soyuz)|
|QUALIFIED FOR||Manned Flights – Use on ISS|
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.
|2009||YING-B2||PI||Ronnie Willaert (Univ. of Bruxelles) – Luk Daenen (Univ. of Leuven)|