Development of integrated biorefinery

By Lolke Sijtsma, Wageningen University, WP3 coordinator


Interesting progress has been made during the first year of the project; the following are the main highlights:

  • Analytical methods and the overall chemical composition of the selected algal strains for the project have been established
  • Initial tests on cell wall weakening and disruption methods.
  • Soluble protein can be a useful marker for disruption monitoring.
  • Preliminary extraction technologies have been tested.

Objectives for the second year of the project are:

  1. Further characterization of the algae.
  2. Knowledge development of cell wall disruption technologies (physical, chemical, enzymatic).
  3. Green extraction procedures.



Analytic characterization of biomass components

The chemical characterisation of the four provided micro-algae, including amino acid analysis and the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors, has been established.

Screening of mild cell disruption, extraction and fractionation purification technologies

Cell disruption is an important step within the Biorefinery stage to extract and isolate lipids, carbohydrates and proteins from the microalgae cells. Based on freeze dried cells, homogenization or bead milling currently appear to be efficient cell disruption technologies. Preliminary results show that enzymes may be effective in cell wall weakening.

In order to extract high value-added products from freeze dried cells at analytical scale, innovative and green extraction techniques such as Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) and Pressurized Liquid Extraction (PLE) have been optimized.

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