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Efficient nanowire-assisted electroporation and cellular inclusion release of microalgal cells achieved by a low voltage

Bai, Yuan, Huo, Zheng-Yang, Wu, Yin-Hu, Hu, Hong-Ying
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.667 pp. 191-196
copper, copper nanoparticles, cupric oxide, electric potential difference, electrodes, electroporation, energy efficiency, foams, microalgae, nanowires, scanning electron microscopy, temperature
A mild and low-energy cell disruption method with high efficiency has growing application potential in both the extraction of high-value microalgal products and the inactivation of microalgal cells. Conventional technologies available have disadvantages including high energy consumption, the use of chemicals and so on. Here, this study developed an efficient microalgal cell disruption method using the copper oxide nanowire (CuONW)-modified three-dimensional (3D) copper foam electrodes with a low applied voltage. Electrodes with nanowires synthesized at 400 °C, the optimal preparation temperature, achieved efficient microalgal cell electroporation. Microalgal cells were completely inactivated and disrupted at the voltage of 2 V with the hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 10 s. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images showed obvious electroporation damage on the cell surface upon electroporation-treatment (2 V, 30 s). The amount of released cellular inclusion increased significantly with prolonged HRT and the energy consumption of this technology was only 0.014 kWh/kg via the treatment of 2 V and 10 s. This study provided a novel, energy-efficient and chemical-free technique for both microalgal products extraction and cell inactivation.