Martina Sammer, Bob Laarhoven, Ernest Mejias, Doekle Yntema, Elmar C. Fuchs, Gert Holler, Georg Brasseur and Ernst Lankmayr
Impedance spectroscopy is a useful tool for non-invasive and real time measurements of cell suspensions and a variety of biological tissues. The objective of this study was the investigation of the dielectric properties of living aquatic worms (Lumbriculus variegatus) using impedance spectroscopy in a frequency range between 100 Hz and 10 MHz. We demonstrate a linear relation between the worm biomass and the phase response of the signal thereby providing a quick and precise method to determine the biomass of aquatic worms in situ. Possible applications for non-destructive online biomass monitoring of aquatic worms and other aqueous organisms are discussed. Furthermore, we show that groups of worms fed different diets can be distinguished by the method presented. These results reveal a close relationship between the nutritional composition of the worms and the measured phase response. We also demonstrate that the phase response at 90 kHz does not depend on the worm size. In contrast, the response function for the signal at 440 Hz reveals a linear correlation of average individual worm size and phase. Therefore, we conclude that the measured phase response at 90 kHz qualifies as a measure of the total amount of worm biomass present in the measuring cell, whereas the phase measurement at 440 Hz can be used to estimate the average individual worm size.