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Composition and rheological properties of microalgae suspensions: Impact of ultrasound processing

AuthorsMartínez-Sanz, Marta; Garrido Fernández, Agustín; Mijlkovic, Ana; Krona, Annika; Martínez-Abad, Antonio ; Coll Marqués, José M.; López-Rubio, Amparo ; López-Sánchez, Patricia
Cell wall polysaccharides
Issue Date1-Jun-2020
CitationAlgal Research August 2020; 49:101960
AbstractIn this study the rheological properties of aqueous suspensions of three microalgae species, Nannochloropsis gaditana, Scenedesmus almeriensis and Spirulina platensis, were investigated as a function of solids content, and related to their composition and microstructure. In addition, the impact of ultrasound processing on their structuring ability was also studied. The less rigid character of the Spirulina platensis cell walls (with very low carbohydrate contents) and the presence of extracellular components promoted cell-cell interactions, yielding suspensions which showed a shear thinning behaviour at lower concentrations than Nannochloropsis gaditana and Scenedesmus almeriensis. It is noteworthy that the three species showed different viscoelastic properties at 25 wt.% total solids. Spirulina platensis suspensions showed a more elastic behaviour and lower frequency dependence, characteristic of weak gels, whilst Nannochloropsis gaditana and Scenedesmus almeriensis behaved more like viscous liquids. The ultrasound treatment did not affect the cell wall integrity, but it promoted the release of intracellular components (some of which could have been partially degraded) and disrupted physical interparticle interactions in Nannochloropsis gaditana and Scenedesmus almeriensis. This has an impact on the rheological properties, increasing the viscosity of Nannochloropsis gaditana suspensions, whilst the viscosity of Scenedesmus almeriensis suspensions was reduced. The outcomes of this work give insights into the exploitation of these microalgae species in soft materials for food, pharma and other technological applications.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2020.101960
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