Preliminary Investigation of Cellular Lipid Extraction Using Electroporation as an Enhancement Technique
French, W. Todd
CommitteeKeith, Jason M.
Walters, Keisha B.
This study investigated the use of electroporation as an extraction method of lipids in oleaginous microorganisms. Electroporation is the process of placing a voltage gradient across a lipid membrane to create pores that vary in size and longevity with voltage magnitude and pulse duration. Once the voltage gradient is removed, the lipid membrane will seal the pore. The use of electroporation on oleaginous microorganisms to extract stored lipids could be a useful tool if the microorganism is allowed to regenerate and produce more lipids. Three high-lipid media were investigated: soybeans, Rhodococcus opacus (bacteria), and Rhodotorula glutinis (yeast). This study investigates varied voltage magnitude, pulse duration, quantity of pulses, and distance between electrodes. Electroporation proved to be moderately successful for lipid removal when using low voltages and long pulse durations. However, electroporation removed only a small percentage of the intracellular lipids.