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Bioprocess Biosyst Eng. 2013 Dec;36(12):1977-85. doi: 10.1007/s00449-013-0974-7. Epub 2013 May 25.

Improvement of hydrocarbon recovery by spouting solvent into culture of Botryococcus braunii.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Green School, Korea University, Seoul, 136-713, Republic of Korea.


Botryococcus braunii, a green microalga, is known to produce plentiful liquid hydrocarbons as promising biodiesel resources. However, the hydrocarbon extraction methods that have so far achieved have several problems such as low efficiency and high cost. In our study, a solvent-spouted extraction process integrated with photo-bioculture was designed for simultaneous realization of hydrocarbon extraction and cell culture in two phases. The n-octane was selected as the best solvent among several solvents because its biocompatibility was highest for B. braunii. As a result, high level of biomass and hydrocarbon, 4.17 and 893.79 mg/L, respectively, was attained at 100 mL/min of solvent recycling rate through three times of processes for 66 days. Moreover, formation of cell clump was suppressed in solvent extraction, cells were regenerated after it, and thus cell viability was maintained even after repeated cycles of it. Finally, this solvent-spouted culture process required the smaller cost due to reuse of the less solvent and regenerated cells, compared with the other conventional methods. Accordingly, this technique would be applicable to exploit the continuous extraction of hydrocarbon from the algal biomass, especially for application on a large scale.

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