Reducing Cultivation and Harvesting Costs for Cyanobacteria


Executive Summary


Our technology enables physical plant managers to control cyanobacterial flocculation, which significantly reduces recovery and dewatering requirements. These requirements alone account for up to 40% of operating costs in production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals from cyanobacteria. This technology works by inducing cyanobacterial cells to grow to a size that makes cells easy to dewater without sacrificing biomass accumulation rates. 


Description of Technology


This technology is a modification to cyanobacterial cells that causes the cells to elongate instead of divide, creating large cells that are easily dewatered. Targeted genes are overexpressed following addition of a low-cost, readily available inducer into the pond/raceway/growth media, resulting in deregulated cell division and cells that grow up to 1mm long. This enables controlled flocculation/harvesting that can be tailored to individual industrial collection needs, be it in filtration, centrifugation, or sedimentation. The larger cell size also reduces filtration cost by using larger pored, less costly, and renewable membranes. 



Key Benefits

  • Simple and efficient dewatering of cyanobacteria
  • Reduced concentration of chemical flocculants, faster flocculation rates
  • Tunable to user’s specific needs
  • Minimal capital investment:  replaces or reduces need for centrifugation or filtration



  • Biomass harvesting
  • Media separation from cyanobacteria


Patent Status: 


Patent pending


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Dr. Daniel Ducat, Dr. Katherine Osteryoung, Josh MacCready


Tech ID: TEC2016-0049



Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University