Harvesting of microalgae by bio-flocculation

S. Salim, R. Bosma, M.H. Vermuë, R.H. Wijffels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

301 Citations (Scopus)


The high-energy input for harvesting biomass makes current commercial microalgal biodiesel production economically unfeasible. A novel harvesting method is presented as a cost and energy efficient alternative: the bio-flocculation by using one flocculating microalga to concentrate the non-flocculating microalga of interest. Three flocculating microalgae, tested for harvesting of microalgae from different habitats, improved the sedimentation rate of the accompanying microalga and increased the recovery of biomass. The advantages of this method are that no addition of chemical flocculants is required and that similar cultivation conditions can be used for the flocculating microalgae as for the microalgae of interest that accumulate lipids. This method is as easy and effective as chemical flocculation which is applied at industrial scale, however in contrast it is sustainable and cost-effective as no costs are involved for pre-treatment of the biomass for oil extraction and for pre-treatment of the medium before it can be re-used
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-855
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • algae
  • efficiency
  • waste


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