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A turbidostat is a continuous culture device, similar to a chemostat or an auxostat, which has feedback between the turbidity of the culture vessel and the dilution rate.[1][2] The theoretical relationship between growth in a chemostat and growth in a turbidostat is somewhat complex, in part because it is similar. A chemostat technically has a fixed volume and flow rate - thus a fixed dilution rate. When the cells are uniform and at equilibrium, operation of a chemostat and turbidostat should be identical. It is only when classical chemostat assumptions are violated (for instance, out of equilibrium; or the cells are mutating) that a turbidostat is functionally different. One case may be while cells are growing at their maximum growth rate, in which case it is difficult to set a chemostat to the appropriate constant dilution rate .[3]

While most turbidostats use a spectrophotometer/turbidometer to measure the optical density for control purposes, there exist other options, such as dielectric permittivity.[4]


  1. ^ Bryson V, Szybalski W (1952). "Microbial selection". Science 18 (115): 45–51. doi:10.1126/science.116.3003.45. PMID 14950177. 
  2. ^ Sorgeloos P, Van Outryve E,Persoone G, Cattoir-Reynaerts A (1976). "New Type of Turbidostat with Intermittent Determination of Cell Density Outside the Culture Vessel". Applied and Environmental Microbiology 31 (3): 327–331. PMC 169774. PMID 16345153. 
  3. ^ Watson TG (1972). "The Present Status and Future Prospect of the Turbidostat". Journal of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology 22 (2): 229–243. doi:10.1002/jctb.5020220206. 
  4. ^ Markx GH, Davey CL, Kell DB (1991). "The Permittistat: A novel type of turbidostat". Journal of General Microbiology 137 (4): 735–743. doi:10.1099/00221287-137-4-735.