Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, Vol.129, No.4, 502-507, 2020
Disruption of thin- and thick-wall microalgae using high pressure gases: Effects of gas species, pressure and treatment duration on the extraction of proteins and carotenoids
Industrial scale microalgal cell disruption requires low cost, high efficiency and structural conservation of biomolecules for biorefinery. Many cultivated microalgae have thick walls and these walls are barriers for efficient cell disruption. Until recently, despite the high biodiversity of microalgae, little attention has been paid to thin-wall microalgal species in the natural environment for the production and recovery of valuable biomolecules. Instead of developing high power cell disruption devices, utilization of thin-wall species would be a better approach. The present paper describes a simple device that was assembled to evaluate the viability and effectiveness of biomolecule extraction from both thin- and thick-wall species as a proof of concept. This device was tested with high-pressure gases including N-2, CO2 plus N-2, and air as the disruption force. The highest nitrogen pressure, 110 bar, was not able to disrupt the thick-wall microalgal cells. On the other hand, the thin-wall species was disrupted to different degrees using different pressures and treatment durations. In the same treatment duration, higher nitrogen pressure gave better cell disruption efficiency than the lower pressure. However, in the same pressure, longer treatment duration did not give better efficiency than the shorter duration. High pressure CO2 treatments resulted in low soluble protein levels in the media. The best conditions to disrupt the thin-wall microalgal cells were 110 bar N-2 or air for 1 min among these tests. In these conditions, not only were the disruption efficiencies high, but also the biomolecules were well preserved. (C) 2019, The Society for Biotechnology, Japan. All rights reserved.