Biorefinery of the macroalgae Ulva lactuca: extraction of proteins and carbohydrates by mild disintegration

P.R. Postma*, O. Cerezo-Chinarro, R.J. Akkerman, G. Olivieri, R.H. Wijffels, W.A. Brandenburg, M.H.M. Eppink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of osmotic shock, enzymatic incubation, pulsed electric field, and high shear homogenization on the release of water-soluble proteins and carbohydrates from the green alga Ulva lactuca was investigated in this screening study. For osmotic shock, both temperature and incubation time had a significant influence on the release with an optimum at 30 °C for 24 h of incubation. For enzymatic incubation, pectinase demonstrated being the most promising enzyme for both protein and carbohydrate release. Pulsed electric field treatment was most optimal at an electric field strength of 7.5 kV cm−1 with 0.05 ms pulses and a specific energy input relative to the released protein as low as 6.6 kWh kgprot −1. Regarding literature, this study reported the highest protein (~ 39%) and carbohydrate (~ 51%) yields of the four technologies using high shear homogenization. Additionally, an energy reduction up to 86% was achieved by applying a novel two-phase (macrostructure size reduction and cell disintegration) technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1293
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number2
Early online date28 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Enzymes
  • High shear homogenization
  • Macroalgae
  • Osmotic shock
  • Protein
  • Pulsed electric field


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