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View Diary: Morning Feature: Mass Transit - Our Lives and Footprints (Plus Kossascopes) (185 comments)

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  •  in the lab - sometimes (0+ / 0-)

    and sometimes just use osmotic pressure to burst the cells, if the particular cells have weak walls.  A lot of methods, depending on what is being processed and the goals.

    There's been a lot of work on concentrating algae cultures for harvesting purposes. Ingenious mechanisms that don't use much energy, but are prone to clogging. Clog-prove ones that take a lot of power. Cleaver ones that take too much maintenance.  It simply isn't an easy task.

    I suspect that a workable solution is a genetically engineered variety that needs special, although not too hard to provide, conditions to grow as a way to keep it from spreading in the wild, and that takes on a clumping behavior when triggered by some low cost means. The clumped masses would be easy to strain out, possibly floating to the surface through entrained gas bubbles (plus the oils they make).  As starvation, particularly nitrogen starvation, usually triggers oil formation, a similarly triggered but delayed formation of sticky polysaccharides that bound the cells into a mat and trapped the O2 they give off might work. The combined buoyancy of oil and gas floats the mats, concentrating the cells enough that the more energy intensive harvesting methods could be used.


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