mardi 19 mars à 9h30


Salle 401 – TBI

Microalgae biorefining and membrane processes – Opportunities and challenges


Estelle Couallier



Microalgae are a promising bioresource for valuable metabolites that can help reach the United Nations’s sustainable development goals, including safe and healthy food, sustainable energies, and sustainable production industries. They produce proteins containing essential amino acids, polysaccharides with texturing or antibacterial properties, lipids such as antioxidant polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA, EPA), pigments like carotenoids, terpenes. Many molecules also present very interesting perspectives as renewable amphiphilic molecules for detergent, emulsifying or foaming agents. Their properties make them a promising feedstock for applications in the nutraceutical, functional food, health, animal feed, biofertilization, formulation, biomaterial or biofuel sectors.

The culture of microalgae and cyanobacteria is already mature for several strains like arthrospira platensis, Chlorella vulgaris, or Tetraselmis Chui, even if enhancements are still needed. But the biorefining is still a challenge that drives many research works over the last decade to fully exploit different fractions after the biomass harvesting. In GEPEA, the biorefining in wet conditions has been selected to avoid an intermediate energy-intensive drying step.  In this presentation, the results from different projects dealing with the coupling of cell disruption, necessary to access to the intracellular components, and membrane filtration for their fractionation are presented. The impact of molecules organisation in the complex mixtures on the separation performances is also considered. Finally, the challenges still to be met for an efficient Integration of biomass production processes (cultivation, harvesting, storage) with biorefinery stages (cell lysis and fractionation) are highlighted.

Estelle Couallier