Spain O, Funk C
J. Agric. Food Chem. 70 (31) 9711-9721 [2022-08-10; online 2022-07-27]
Green microalgae are attractive to food, pharmaceutical, and biofuel industries due to the promising and diverse properties of their intracellular components. In current biotechnological applications, however, clear bottlenecks are the cell disruption and cell harvesting steps. Challenges in both of these processes are directly linked to the properties of the microalgal cell wall. The aim of this study was to explore the cell wall compositions and morphologies of four Nordic microalgal strains (Chlorella vulgaris (13-1), Scenedesmus sp. (B2-2), Haematococcus pluvialis, and Coelastrella sp. (3-4)) and their changes in relation to logarithmic and stationary growth phases. Transmission electron microscopy imaging enabled us to visualize the cell walls and to observe structural elements such as spines, microfibrillar hairs, or layers. Using cryogenic X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we quantified lipid, protein, and polysaccharide content of the outer surface of the microalgal cell wall in cultures. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy highlighted changes between growth phases within the polysaccharide and protein fractions of the cell wall. Very prominent differences were observed in sugar and protein composition of the Scenedesmus sp. (B2-2) cell wall compared to the cell walls of the other three Nordic strains using trimethylsilyl derivatization.