Polyethyleneimine-induced Flocculation and Flotation of Cyanobacterium Anabaena Flosaquae for Gas Vesicle Production

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Fall 2002


Gas vesicles are hollow, proteinaceous structures found in some strains of cyanobacteria. They have been used to increase the oxygen supply and improve the cultivation of shear-sensitive mammalian cells. However, the production and, especially, collection of cells and gas vesicles were laborious and ineffective. In this study we examined the use of the cationic polymer, polyethyleneimine (PEI), for improving the cell harvesting by flocculation and flotation. PEI was examined to determine the appropriate molecular weight, pH range, and dosage. The dose of 20–30 mg/l of PEI with molecular weight of 25,000 in the pH range of 6.0–8.5 was found to provide effective and efficient cell flocculation and flotation. As the PEI dose increased, the rate of flotation increased but the clearance (collection) efficacy declined slightly. The culture samples used in this study were taken from light-limiting continuous culture systems at different dilution rates (0.05–0.24 h−1). Without PEI addition, the cells at dilution rates lower than 0.1 h did not float while those at higher dilution rates would float slowly. With PEI addition, the flocculated cells at the dilution rate of 0.05 h−1 sank and those of higher dilution rates would float and the flotation rate increased with increasing specific growth rate. Nonetheless, PEI flocculation and flotation (or sedimentation) could be used to harvest cells at a wide range of growth states.





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