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A new mechanism for efficient hydrocarbon electro-extraction from Botryococcus braunii

Guionet, Alexis, Hosseini, Bahareh, Teissié, Justin, Akiyama, Hidenori, Hosseini, Hamid
Biotechnology for biofuels 2017 v.10 no.1 pp. 39
Botryococcus braunii, electric field, energy, energy costs, fluorescence microscopes, image analysis, microalgae, oils, renewable energy sources, screening, thin layer chromatography
BACKGROUND: Recent understanding that specific algae have high hydrocarbon production potential has attracted considerable attention. Botryococcus braunii is a microalga with an extracellular hydrocarbon matrix, which makes it an appropriate green energy source. RESULTS: This study focuses on extracting oil from the microalgae matrix rather than the cells, eliminating the need for an excessive electric field to create electro-permeabilization. In such a way, technical limitations due to high extraction energy and cost can be overcome. Here, nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEF) with 80 ns duration and 20–65 kV/cm electric fields were applied. To understand the extraction mechanism, the structure of the algae was accurately studied under fluorescence microscope; extraction was quantified using image analysis; quality of extraction was examined by thin-layer chromatography (TLC); and the cell/matrix separation was observed real-time under a microscope during nsPEF application. Furthermore, optimization was carried out by screening values of electric fields, pulse repetition frequencies, and energy spent. CONCLUSIONS: The results offer a novel method applicable for fast and continues hydrocarbon extraction process at low energy cost.