• microwave;
  • growth rate constant;
  • low power radiation;
  • thermal effect;
  • PFR


A plug flow reactor (PFR) which permits the growth of bacteria in a microwave environment is described. The apparatus is used to analyse the effect of microwave radiation at the frequency of 2.45 GHz and at 37°C on the growth rate of three bacterial species: Bacillus clausii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. The growth constant is determined for reacting mixtures irradiated with microwaves of different powers ranging from 0 to 400 mW. Analyses show that (a) the apparatus is able to perform the experimental runs maintaining an aseptic environment; (b) under the microwave power levels examined in the present study, no effects are detected for the Bacillus clausii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa species, while for the Staphylococcus aureus species, a few small effects are found (a minimum value of the growth constant at 200 mW and an increase of the constant between 200 and 400 mW). © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010