In order to extract intracellular lipids from cyanobacterial Synechocystis PCC 6803 for biofuel production, seven cell-disruption methods - autoclaving, bead beating, freeze drying, French press, microwave, pulsed electric fields (PEF), and ultrasound - were tested prior to lipid extraction to make intracellular lipids more accessible by organic solvents. The different methods brought about distinct disruption effects to the cell envelope, plasma membrane, and thylakoid membranes that were related to extraction efficiency. Microwave, PEF, and ultrasound with temperature control had significant enhancement of lipid extraction (9-13% increases). Bead beating, freeze drying, and French press did not provide significant enhancement of lipid extraction. Furthermore, autoclaving, French press, and ultrasound treatments caused significant release of lipid into the medium, which may increase solvent usage and make medium recycling difficult. In order to minimize the cost of cell-disruption and lipid-extraction steps, microwave and PEF (with temperature control) might be best suited for large-scale cell disruption among all techniques investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • Biodiesel
  • Cell disruption
  • Lipid extraction
  • Synechocystis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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