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This short communication reports a pioneering research of using bacteria for simultaneous algal cell disruption and cell wall-membrane utilization. Microalgae are regarded as one of the most promising feedstock that can potentially address the twin challenges of energy security and environmental protection due to their fast growth rate, high lipid content and CO2 biofixation capabilities. However, different from their terrestrial oil crops, the extracellular coverings of algae vary significantly, ranging from multiple layers of elaborate scales to highly mineralized coats to complex cell walls consisting of structural fibrils enmeshed in complex matrices. These strong cellular walls and membranes are resistant to disintegration, which makes lipid extraction from microalgae difficult. A bacteria-assisted algal cell disruption and lipid extraction method was studied here. The bacteria Sagittula stellata showed strong algicidal activity against two microalgae, Nannochloropsis oculata and Dunaliella salina. The algicidal rate reached 64.7% on N. oculata and 52.4% on D. salina in six days. A decrease in chlorophyll-a fluorescence density of both algae and bacteria addition was also observed. After 6-day treatment by S. stellata, hexane-extracted crude lipid contents increased from 32.9% to 45.7% and from 19.6% to 36.4% for N. oculata and D. salina, respectively, when compared with no bacterial addition. The preliminary results concluded that S. stellata was effective in the lysis of microalgal cells for effective lipid recovery.


Microalgae, Cell Lysis, Lipid Extraction

Cite this paper

Wang, M. and Yuan, W. 2014 Bacterial Lysis of Microalgal Cells. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 4, 243-248. doi: 10.4236-jsbs.2014.44022.

Autor: Meng Wang, Wenqiao Yuan*



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