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Application of electroporation for microalgal biorefinery

STSM by Giuseppe Olivieri, Assistant Professor

Period of mission: from 18/05/2014 to 25/05/2014

Home institution: Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Host institution: ProdAl Scarl, Fisciano, Italy

Cultivation and biorefinery of microalgae have stimulated intensive research due to the high potential in supply both commodities as food, feed, and biofuels and specialties and antioxidant and poly-unsatured fatty acids. However, several bottlenecks affect the feasibility of the process. One of them is the extraction of these compounds from the biomass. In this frame, Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology can be used as a way to enhance the extraction yield of valuable compounds from the inner parts of the cells. The main outcomes of the PEF treatment were:

  • short time scale (less than 1s) -> very small sized units are required in comparison to the large scale of the microalgal cultivation due to the time scale of the growth (days)
  • capacity to treat from diluted to high concentrated stream (from 10 to 100 g/L), provided they are “pumpable” -> preconcentration step of the cultivation is required by flocculation or centrifugation
  • fast temperature increase -> To avoid damage to sensible compound (mainly proteins) an efficient cooling is required together with avoiding too high energy treatment
  • strong sensitivity to initial conductivity which should be lower than 5 mS/cm -> In case of marine algae, it is necessary to carry out a washing step after the harvesting of the culture from the photobioreactor
  • energy cost of less than 1 Euro/kg biomass -> It is still too high considering that the whole microalgal biorefinery should achieve an overall cost (capital+operating) of 2 Euro/kg biomass.

Publication(s) originating from this mission

Journal Bioresource Technology
Impact Factor (according to ISI Thomson) 4,494
Authors PR Postma, G Pataro, M Capitoli, MJ Barbosa, MHM Eppink, RH Wijffels, G Olivieri, G Ferrari
Title Selective extraction of intracellular components from the microalga Chlorella vulgaris by combined Pulsed Electric Field-Temperature treatment
Year 2015
Issue ?
Pages ?
Status Submitted - to be updated

Oral presentation(s) originating from this mission

Event 1st World Congress on Electroporation and Pulsed Electric Fields in Biology, Medicine and Food & Environmental Technologies
Location Portorož/Slovenia
Period 06/09 - 10/09/2015
Authors Richard Postma, Giuseppe Olivieri, Maria Barbosa, Rene Wijffels, Michel Eppink, M Capitoli, Gianpiero Pataro, Giovanna Ferrari
Title Effect of temperature and energy input on PEF processing of the green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris

 


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