Versatile Continuous Culture Device (VCCD)


The Versatile Continuous Culture Device (VCCD) is a inexpensive, flexible, and open-source instrument dedicated to the continuous culture of various types of microorganisms. Continuous culture devices constitute the best mean to keep cell populations in a physiological steady state and establish reproducible growth conditions. This capacity can be very useful in the context of systems and synthetic biology, two disciplines in which growth conditions is determinant to acquire high-quality data and minimize inaccuracies at the analysis and modeling process. However, most commercially available instruments are expensive, not designed to handle small volumes and are rarely customizable.

With the proposed configuration, three culture chambers can be controlled simultaneously, and all components are readily available from various sources. Each culture unit includes a turbidity-measured culture vessel, a mixing motor, as well as computer-controlled pinch valve that provide fresh medium to the culture vessel once specific conditions are reached. Electrical alimentation of the system is supported by low-cost PCBs that can be easily fabricated and assembled using standard procedures. Transmittance is monitored in real-time using a graphical user interface (GUI) software designed with the National Instruments LabVIEW platform. This software offers various modes and options in order to establish continuous cultures and accommodate various experimental needs.

Since the VCCD is an open source project, we hope that biologists will be able not only to take advantage of the system to perform their experiments but also to customize it to their experimental needs and make the modifications public.




– Frame –

– Culture system –

– Electronics –

– Example of a complete VCCD assembly in 3D CAD file format (File S2) –

– Download all files –



Software Download

– Version 1.0 –

Current version of the VCCD 1.0 software was tested on Windows 7 Enterprise Service Pack 1 (64 bits).

VCCD 1.0 graphical user interface (GUI):




User Manual

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