Recent advances in combining ultrasonic particle manipulation with attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy of yeast suspensions are presented. Infrared spectroscopy provides highly specific molecular information about the sample. It has not been applicable to in-line monitoring of cells during fermentation, however, because positioning cells in the micron-thin measurement region of the attenuated total reflection probe was not possible. Ultrasonic radiation forces exerted on suspended particles by an ultrasonic standing wave can result in the buildup of agglomerates in the nodal planes, hence enabling the manipulation of suspended cells on the microscopic scale. When a chamber setup and a prototype in-line applicable probe were used, successful control over the position of the yeast cells relative to the attenuated total reflection sensor surface could be proven. Both rate of increase and maximum mid-infrared absorption of yeast-specific bands during application of a pushing frequency (chamber setup: 1.863 MHz, in-line probe: 1.990 MHz) were found to correlate with yeast cell concentration.
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