ODX: a fitness tracker-based device for continuous bacterial growth monitoring

Venkata V. B. Yallapragada, Uday Gowda, David Wong, Liam O’Faolain, Mark Tangney, Ganga C. R. Devarapu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Continuous monitoring of bacterial growth in aqueous media is a crucial process in academic research as well as in the biotechnology industry. Bacterial growth is usually monitored by measuring the optical density of bacteria in liquid media, using benchtop spectrophotometers. Due to the large form factor of the existing spectrophotometers, they cannot be used for live monitoring of the bacteria inside bacterial incubation chambers. Additionally, the use of benchtop spectrometers for continuous monitoring requires multiple samplings and is labor intensive. To overcome these challenges, we have developed an optical density measuring device (ODX) by modifying a generic fitness tracker. The resulting ODX device is an ultraportable and low-cost device that can be used inside bacterial incubators for real-time monitoring even while shaking is in progress. We evaluated the performance of ODX with different bacterial types and growth conditions and compared it with a commercial benchtop spectrophotometer. In all cases, ODX showed comparable performance to that of the standard benchtop spectrophotometer. Finally, we demonstrate a simple and useful smartphone application whereby the user is notified when the bacterial concentration reaches the targeted value. Due to its potential for automation and mass production, we believe that the ODX has a wide range of applications in biotechnology research and industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12329-12335
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number19
Early online date3 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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