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Preserving diatoms during harvest with the Evodos system

September 9, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Microscope picture of the harvested diatoms

Microscope picture of the harvested diatoms

Tomalgae is a Belgian company with a production and testing facility in the Netherlands where they produce high quality diatoms. For them it is extremely important that the diatoms are harvested undamaged. Only then do the high value components inside the cell wall remain available.

A unique feature of diatom cells is that they are encased within a siliceous exoskeleton (hydrated silicon dioxide) called a frustule. The frustule is very fragile. Before testing with the Evodos spiral plate centrifuge system Tomalgae had not found a harvesting method where the diatom cells could be harvested in one piece.

The harvested diatoms paste with the Evodos

The harvested diatoms paste with the Evodos

“Recently I repeatedly had a chance to process large volumes of thalassiosiroid diatoms (Diatom, taxonomic order Thalassiosirales) using the Evodos centrifuge,” says Dr. Victor Chepurnov, of Tomalgae. The results of these tests proved to be uniformly identical: the perfect quality of concentrated microalgal (diatom) paste – no diatoms cells were detected that exhibited any signs of mechanical damage.”

Evodos system at work for diatom concentration at Tomalgae

Evodos system at work for diatom concentration at Tomalgae

“The diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) belong to one of the most economically important groups of algae,” he said. “For various applications, it is often very important that while algae cultures are concentrated via centrifugation, the cells are not damaged and keep their integrity after the processing. The siliceous exoskeleton of diatom cells is extremely fragile. Traditional methods of centrifugation typically bring serious damage to the cells – breaking or opening their frustules – that usually dramatically reduces the quality (and commercial value) of the microalgal biomass obtained.”

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