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Material to Efficiently and Economically Obtain Microorganisms and Microalgae

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a material that provides an economical and efficient process to harvest microorganisms such as microalgae from growth media.  Samples are available for testing.


The interest in using algae as feedstock for biofuel production has steadily increased in recent years. In addition to biofuel applications, algae also provide valuable materials for the nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and food industries. However, methods to obtain concentrated volumes of algae from growth media are expensive, energy intensive and inefficient.  To overcome these drawbacks, researchers at Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory have developed a material for easy separation of microorganisms from the media; the material and growth medium may also be reused after the microorganisms have been recovered. The material provides benefits and advantages over other currently known methods concentrating microalgae and other microorganisms by avoiding the addition of soluble chemicals which have the potential to interfere with sequestration, the high energy demand of filtration methods, and inefficient recovery through the loss of flocculation compounds.

• High yields of microorganisms/microalgae
• Re-use of material for continuous microorganism harvest
• Simple and fast microorganism removal
• No impact on growth media


Applications and Industries

Sequestration of microorganisms from growth media for use in biofuel production, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and the food industry.

More Information

For additional information see

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,828,705
Magnetic mesoporous material for the sequestration of algae
The present invention provides a magnetic mesoporous nanoparticle that includes a mesoporous silicate nanoparticle and iron oxide. The present invention also provides a method of using magnetic mesoporous nanoparticles to sequester microorganisms from a media.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Craig Forney<>