(727h) Magnetic Separation of Algal for Biofuel Production

Xu, J., The Ohio State University
Chalmers, J. J., The Ohio State University
Postier, B., Phycal

Phycal is an algal biofuels company focusing on a hybrid photoautotrophic/heterotrophic open pond system using freshwater algal species.  To potentially reduce costs associated with algal biofuels production and/or improve the quality of intermediate steps through improved efficiencies downstream, Phycal is developing strains that can transport and store significantly more iron than wild-type strains.  The potential reward is that they can out-compete contaminating species (e.g., algae, bacteria, protozoa, and etc.) for the available iron.  Once stored, the iron is in the form of magnetite inside ferritin complexes that are paramagnetic.  Thus, in addition to the advantage of iron scavenging, these strains can be manipulated magnetically with the potential of magnetic separation.

In this presentation we will present progress on our work to not only over-express genes involved in iron reduction (Fre1), iron transport (Fea1), and iron storage (Fer1), but also our characterization of both the amount of iron within the cells through the use of mass spectrometry and cell tracking velocimetry, CTV.  CTV, measures the magnetophoretic mobility, on a cell by cell basis, by measuring the induced velocity of a cell in a well defined magnetic energy gradient.  With this measured magnetophoretic mobility, the magnetic susceptibility of the contained iron can be determined, and the potential of high throughput magnetic cell separation technology to separate the magnetic algae predicted