Selective and energy efficient extraction of functional proteins from microalgae for food applications

E. Suarez Garcia*, J. van Leeuwen, C. Safi, L. Sijtsma, M.H.M. Eppink, R.H. Wijffels, C. van den Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The use of a single controlled bead milling step of the microalga Tetraselmis suecica resulted in a soluble fraction, rich in functional proteins. This was achieved by fine-tuning the processing time, thereby exploiting the difference in rates of protein and carbohydrate release during milling. Soluble proteins were extracted under mild conditions -room temperature, no addition of chemicals, pH 6.5-, with a yield of 22.5% and a specific energy consumption of 0.6 kWh kgDW −1, which is within the recommended minimum energy for an extraction step in a biorefinery process. The resulting protein extract contained 50.4% (DW) of proteins and 26.4% carbohydrates, showed light green color and displayed superior surface activity and gelation behavior compared to whey protein isolate. The proposed process is simple (only one bead milling step), scalable, and allows the mild extraction of functional proteins, making it interesting for industrial applications in the food industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-203
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Bead milling
  • Energy efficient
  • Functional protein
  • Gelation
  • Surface activity


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