The winners(l. to r.): Ajay Padmakumar, Li Wang, Matthew E. Pepper, Clemson University

BlueCompetition 2013


The winners of the BlueCompetition 2013 have now been announced. Matthew Pepper, Li Wang, Ajay Padmakumar, Timothy C. Burg, Sarah W. Harcum and Richard E. Groff from the Clemson University were able to prevail narrowly in the end with their project report: „A Real-time Adaptive Oxygen Transfer Rate Estimator for Metabolism Tracking in Escherichia coli cultures“. The participants of the winning group are from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and from the Department of Bioengineering as well. In the final summation of all the results from the independent jury the Clemson University achieved a narrow lead. The Jury was consisting of Prof. Dr. Gesine Cornelissen from the HAW Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Lars Blank,  RWTH Aachen and  Reps. Prof. Dr. Frank Eiden, W-HS Gelsenkirchen. Eiden was convinced about the performance of the winning group. “The team around Assoc. Professor Groff form the Clemson University showed in an impressive way how to gain mass transfer data in biological systems in real-time with the BlueSens off-gas analysis technology and how to use the data directly for optimization of complex metabolic processes”, said Eiden during the rendition of the results. The can look forward to a prize money of 5,000 Euros that BlueSens pays to the university. The second place was taken by the group of John M. Pisciotta, Joe Mossman, Zehra Zaybak and William Schultz, from the Department of Biology, West Chester University. For their project report “Enhanced waste to fuel conversion with a bioelectrochemically controlled autotrophic bioreactor” the runner ups used the BlueSens´equipment for a real-time analysis in an algae-photo bioreactor in a closed system. In the experiment, the algae strains were used to produce environmentally friendly biogas from wastewater. The group is pleased with a prize of 2,500 Euros. Therefore in the 2013´s run of the Competition the first two places go to U.S. participants. On the third place the group from Technical University form Hamburg Harburg is following. The workgroup of Martina Schedler, Nneka Maryrose Enwena, Ana Gabriela Valladares Juárez and Prof Dr. Rudolf Müller from the Institute of Technical Biocatalysis at the TUHH is investigating the biologic degradation of mineral oil after the Deepwater Horizon accident (we reported about the work of the group during the project phase). The third placed get a prize money of 1,500 Euros from BlueSens for their science work. BlueSens would like to thank all the participants of the BlueCompetition 2013. Selected project reports will be published by BlueSens in a comprehensive compilation, the “Report No.3” very soon.




What is the BlueCompetition?

The BlueCompetition is a worldwide challenge for optimizing the gas analysis in Bioprocessing. Scientific workgroups from universities are invited to use the BlueSens analysis equipment for their experiments and to prepare a project report. An independent scientific jury will find out the winning teams. The best groups will get Euro 9,000 in total prize money from BlueSens and selected reports will be published by BlueSens.


Mail: competition(at)

Phone:+49 (0)2366/499 5530

FAX: +49 (0)2366/499 5599

Report No.3

The new Report No. 3 is now available as downloadable PDF-document. Different scientific applications of the BlueSens´ gas analyzers can be found in this Report. Selected project reports from the BlueCompetition 2013 were collated by BlueSens for this informative compilation of application reports.

(Download Report No.3, PDF-file, 3.4MB)

(Download of the Report No.2 )

The Jury

We now have nominated the reputable Jury for 2013:

Prof. Dr. Lars Blank, RWTH Aachen

Prof. Dr. Gesine Cornelissen, HAW Hamburg

Vertr.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Eiden, W-HS Gelsenkirchen


Project group at work

Scientific workgroup at the TUHH (l. to r.): PhD Student Martina Schedler, Master´s Student Nneka Maryrose Enwena and Postdoc Ana Gabriela Valladares Juárez

Project group at work:

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was the major and deepest oil spill in history, at 1500 meters under the sea surface. The degradation of mineral oil by bacteria was one key factor to mitigate the disastrous effects of the accident. The oil was degraded faster than anticipated. Until now there are only few scientific investigations about the oil-degrading species and their metabolic activity under the extremely harsh living conditions in the deep sea, 150 bar pressure and 4 °C.


The Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) is a member of the Center for Integrated Modelling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem (C-IMAGE), a research consortium led by the University of South Florida with the aim of understanding the DWH marine oil spill. The Institute of Technical Biocatalysis from the TUHH is investigating the biological processes of degradation under deep-sea conditions. The team is working under the supervision of Prof. Rudolf Müller in cooperation with several universities in the USA and Canada. The main aim for the group in Hamburg is to find out more about the metabolic process of the bacteria in the deep sea. Therefore the Postdoc Ana Gabriela Valladares Juárez, the PhD Student Martina Schedler and the Master´s Student Nneka Maryrose Enwena received original crude oil probes from the spill and also original strains of bacteria from the deep sea of the Gulf of Mexico for their work. The microorganisms are naturally occurring species in the Gulf of Mexico and were isolated by professors Joe Lepo and Wade Jeffrey from the University of West Florida after the oil spill.


The effects of the deep-sea conditions on the biodegradation of oil are unknown. The experiments are separated in two different conditions, high pressure conditions and normal pressure. In the experiments the various oil compounds are detected offline by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. For making a degradation curve one reactor has to be sacrificed entirely for only one single measurement point. This makes it a very time-consuming work. A fast and effective method for monitoring the biodegradation of the oil is to measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide continuously with an inline BlueInOne gas analyser by BlueSens gas sensor GmbH. As aerobic bacteria grow on the oil, they consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. Therefore, these two parameters are indicators of the bacteria´s metabolic activity. The oxygen concentration is an important parameter for quantifying the biodegradation. With these experiments the scientific workgroup is taking part in the BlueCompetition, the worldwide science challenge for gas analysis in bioprocessing. The BlueCompetition is organised by BlueSens and currently a lot of groups are running their experiments for this scientific contest.

At the moment the group from Hamburg is still running their experiments, too. So far results have shown quite surprisingly that the hydrocarbon respiration is similar at 1 bar and at 150 bar. Further research will be oriented to study the biodegradation of oil and methane at low temperature. The obtained results help to understand the conditions for the biodegradation of oil in the deep sea.

Review BlueCompetition 2011

Stephan Hüttel, Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Saarland

The BlueCompetition was a big success for Bioprocessing and BlueSens.

The winning scientific groups of the BlueCompetition 2011 have been selected by the independent jury. It was a really close run but finally Stephan Hüttel from the Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Saarland, Germany under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller took the first place. The department will receive a prize money of Euro 5,000 for their scientific work from BlueSens.

The complete abstract "Methods to optimize myxobacterial fermentations using off-gas analysis" of the work group can be downloaded and read on the page of from now on. The abstract is exceeding the content of the project report of the BlueCompetition.

The runner-up is the workgroup of Florian David and Juniorprof. Dr. Ing. Ezequiel Franco-Lara from the Institute of Biochemical Engineering at the TU Braunschweig in Germany. The Research Institute on Bioengineering, Membrane Technology and Energetics University of Pannonia in Hungary with the group members Péter Bakonyi, Nándor Nemestóthy and Dr. Katalin Bélafi-Bakó could take the third place.

A total of 9,000 Euro was awarded to all the winning groups.

Selected project reports of the workgroups can be downloaded now.


Gas sensing devices

The BlueInOne analyzer series for the BlueCompetition. It combines the parallel measurment of CO2 and O2. If the selected groups do not already have access to BlueSens technology, BlueSens will provide gas sensing devices on loan for the duration of the project. the BlueInOne Ferm the BlueInOne Cell


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