Cell wall disruption of microalagae is a critical first step for recovery and increased digestibility/bioavailability of key target compounds such as lipids and proteins for aquaculture food/feedstock, pigments, vitamines and high added-value bio-compounds such as Astaxanthin (red pigment used in salmon feed). Conventional cell wall disruption methods, e.g. mechanical shearing or heat treatment with organic solvents, pose environmental/health risks and may cause denaturation/transformation of bioactives, besides low extraction yield and high energy consumption.
In collaboration with ELEA GmbH, Germany, Nofima is currently developing a new innovative concept for cell wall disruption based on the combined application of Cold Plasma and Pulsed Electric field. The combination of those two innovative technologies was shown to significantly increase extraction yields of proteins and pigments from Chlorella, one of the microalgae with the most rigid cell wall structure. DISRUPT is the further development and optimization of this new cell-wall disruption method for treatment of algal biomass. DISRUPT will provide necessary key information on the potential of the concept for cell wall disruption and will establish the foundation for a new application to the FORNY program in 2021 that will include an upscaling of the production methods, extended screening of the biomass resources and production of a pilot unit for biomass processing.