Thermoelectric device for measuring thermal stress in photosynthetic organisms

Thermoelectric device for measuring thermal stress in photosynthetic organisms for techtransfer

The available equipment for measuring thermal stress in plants is bulky and heavy, consumes a significant amount of energy, and provides a narrow temperature range with limited control over the applied temperature curves. Additionally, these devices do not combine the measurement of thermal stress values with exposure conditions to high PAR radiation or UV radiation (or both).

To solve the mentioned issues, researchers from the PLANTMED research group of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) have developed a compact thermoelectric device that can apply a precise curve of temperatures and high PAR and UV radiations to a wide set of samples, allowing the measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence of multiple samples at the same time.

Figures 1 & 2: Thermoelectric device, with its optical fibers attached.
Figure 3: Panoramic view of the available sample slots.

The thermoelectric device features an array of optical fibers on its upper side to apply light excitation at various wavelengths and to measure the fluorescence or luminescence. On its lower side, the invention includes slots to place the desired samples without requiring additional containers. The system can operate between -35 and 90ºC to measure thermal stress under cold or hot temperatures.
It is a portable system that only requires a laptop to set the temperature curves and an external power source like a battery, making it an optimal device for field applications.
Besides thermal stress measurements obtained from chlorophyll fluorescence readings, other possible applications for the present invention are nucleation point determination, fluorescence pigment measurements, or metabolomic or proteomic studies for organic and inorganic materials or substances.

The implementation and use of the presented device can provide the following potential benefits:

  • Lightweight and portable system that can be used in field applications.
  • Wider temperature range than the provided by commercial devices, including hot and cold temperature support in the same device.
  • Support for multiple sample analysis, allowing faster measurements and easier sample comparisons under the same studied temperatures.

The represented institution is looking for a collaboration that leads to a commercial exploitation of the presented invention. The ideal scenario for the institution would be to reach an agreement to transfer the technology usage by sale or a license (exclusive or non-exclusive) and to collaborate in developing the technology in a pathway towards application. However, the form, terms, and conditions of the collaboration can be openly discussed if the presented technology is of interest.

Institution: Universidad Islas Baleares (UIB)

TRL: The current TRL of the invention is TRL 5, since it has been tested in laboratory and relevant environments such as the Himalayas, the Arctic, and the Antarctic to measure thermal stress.

Protection status: Patent applications have already been requested for this technology (P202230715).

Contact: Pablo Lago /