Comparison of Protein Extracts from Various Unicellular Green Sources

Emma Teuling, Peter A. Wierenga, Johan W. Schrama, Harry Gruppen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Photosynthetic unicellular organisms are considered as promising alternative protein sources. The aim of this study is to understand the extent to which these green sources differ with respect to their gross composition and how these differences affect the final protein isolate. Using mild isolation techniques, proteins were extracted and isolated from four different unicellular sources (Arthrospira (spirulina) maxima, Nannochloropsis gaditana, Tetraselmis impellucida, and Scenedesmus dimorphus). Despite differences in protein contents of the sources (27-62% w/w) and in protein extractability (17-74% w/w), final protein isolates were obtained that had similar protein contents (62-77% w/w) and protein yields (3-9% w/w). Protein solubility as a function of pH was different between the sources and in ionic strength dependency, especially at pH < 4.0. Overall, the characterization and extraction protocol used allows a relatively fast and well-described isolation of purified proteins from novel protein sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7989-8002
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • amino acid composition
  • carbohydrate composition
  • cyanobacteria
  • Microalgae
  • physicochemical properties
  • single-cell protein


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