Deashing macroalgae biomass by pulsed electric field treatment

Arthur Robin, Martin Sack, Alvaro Israel, Wolfgang Frey, Georg Müller, Alexander Golberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among all biomass constituents, the ashes are major hurdles for biomass processing. Ashes currently have low market value and can make a non-negligible fraction of the biomass dry weight significantly impacting its further processing by degrading equipment, lowering process yield, inhibiting reactions and decreasing products qualities. However, most of the current treatments for deashing biomass are of poor efficiency or industrial relevance. This work is the first report on the use of Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) to enhance deashing of biomass from a high ash content green marine macroalga, Ulva sp., using hydraulic pressing. By inducing cell permeabilization of the fresh biomass, PEF was able to enhance the ash extraction from 18.4% (non-treated control) to 37.4% of the total ash content in average, significantly enhancing the extraction of five of the major ash elements (K, Mg, Na, P and S) compared to pressing alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Ash removal/deashing/demineralization
  • Biomass
  • Electroporation/electropermeabilization
  • Pre-treatment
  • Pulsed electric field (PEF)


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