Mechanical cell disruption of microalgae for investigating the effects of degree of disruption on hydrocarbon extraction

Shun Tsutsumi, Madona Yokomizo, Yasuhiro Saito, Yohsuke Matsushita, Hideyuki Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The colonial microalga, Botryococcus braunii, produces and stores hydrocarbons in membranes and in colonies. Although hydrocarbons in B. braunii could easily be extracted for biofuel production, yields are actually poor without energy-intensive pretreatment such as thermal drying. To develop extraction methods without drying, we applied the mechanical cell disruption to wet B. braunii using either a high-pressure homogenizer, a bead mill, or a circulating particle disruptor (Jet-Paster) and examined the relationships between the extent of cell and/or colony disruption and extracted hydrocarbon yields using n-hexane. When the number of particles over 20 μm classified as colonies, decreased after each treatment, the hydrocarbon yields of samples treated (over 20%) were much larger than those without treatments (under 5%). Thus, the colony disruption may increase hydrocarbon yields by enhancing n-hexane penetration to the colony. Although the degree of disruption on the Jet-Paster treatment was the lowest (2.2–9.3%) and that of sample treated by the homogenizer was the highest (27–55%), extracted hydrocarbon yields were improved in both treatments. The facts indicate that disrupting large colonies into small colonies improves hydrocarbon recovery, and the fractionation of cells is not needed for hydrocarbon extraction from B. braunii.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-467
Number of pages14
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1


  • Botryococcus braunii
  • degree of disruption
  • mechanical cell disruption
  • microalgal hydrocarbon
  • particle sizing
  • solvent extraction

Cite this