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Biomass harvesting methodology depends on microbial morphology

Arthrospira is probably the most widely cultivated strain of all cyanobacteria. In principle, Arthrospira forms helical trichomes but under certain circumstances, this photosynthetic microorganism can switch to a straight morphology. This study compared harvesting using filtration and centrifugation between helical and straight Arthrospira strains. The most widely used harvesting method in the industry, woven nylon membranes, was compared with centrifugation. Gravity filtration using nylon membranes resulted in a high retention efficiency for both strains, but the filtration flux was very low for the straight strain. With regard to the use of centrifugation, relatively low g forces were beneficial for the straight strain but its efficiency decrease in the case of the helical strain (even at high g forces).

The Biotechnological Processes Unit at IMDEA Energy published a scientific publication* in collaboration with researchers of KU Leuven (Belgium) elucidating the importance of selecting the most appropriated harvesting methodology depending on Arthrospira strains’ morphology. Remarkably, the helical strain could be easily harvested using filtration, while for the straight strain, the use of centrifugation at low g force would be preferred.

(*) S.P. Cuellar-Bermudez, E. Kilimtzidi, J. Devaere, K. Goiris, C. Gonzalez-Fernandez, R. Wattiez, K. Muylaert. Harvesting of Arthrospira platensis with helicoidal and straight trichomes using filtration and centrifugation. Separation Science and Technology (2020) 55, 13, 2381-2390. DOI: 10.1080/01496395.2019.1624573

More information: Cristina Gonzalez-Fernandez, Senior researcher, Biotechnological Processes Unit, cristina.gonzalez@imdea.org

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 4, 2021