Electrochemical Ethylene Sensor for Monitoring Low Levels in Plant Environments
In Phase I Giner, Inc. successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a novel electrochemical sensor that detects gaseous ethylene for NASA?s use in studying the effects of microgravity on plants and in growing plants for use in missions. Ethylene (C2H4) is a plant hormone that is active at very low concentrations in the developmental and reproductive processes of plants. With the Phase I prototype sensor, the detection range for ethylene in air was 22-800 parts per billion (ppb) (volume/volume). The sensor did not experience interference from CO2, N2 or O2, but NO and NO2 did show some cross reactivity on the sensor. Ethylene was successfully detected in headspace samples from cell culture systems with Catharanthus roseus and is being compared to GC/MS analysis of those gas samples. The Phase II goals include: 1) extension of the detection range to 5 to 5000 ppb, by a design change to increase the active sensing area while decreasing background noise 2) extensive validation and improvement of ethylene accuracy and specificity in laboratory and field settings and 3) fabrication of a low power, compact, light instrument for delivery to NASA.
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