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Rapid Lipid Content Screening in Neochloris oleoabundans Utilizing Carbon-Based Dielectrophoresis


In this study, we carried out a heterogeneous cytoplasmic lipid content screening of Neochloris oleoabundans microalgae by dielectrophoresis (DEP), using castellated glassy carbon microelectrodes in a PDMS microchannel. For this purpose, microalgae were cultured in nitrogen-replete (N+) and nitrogen-deplete (N-) suspensions to promote low and high cytoplasmic lipid production in cells, respectively. Experiments were carried out over a wide frequency window (100 kHz-30 MHz) at a fixed amplitude of 7 VPP. The results showed a statistically significant difference between the dielectrophoretic behavior of N+ and N- cells at low frequencies (100-800 kHz), whereas a weak response was observed for mid- and high frequencies (1-30 MHz). Additionally, a finite element analysis using a 3D model was conducted to determine the dielectrophoretic trapping zones across the electrode gaps. These results suggest that low-cost glassy carbon is a reliable material for microalgae classification-between low and high cytoplasmic lipid content-through DEP, providing a fast and straightforward mechanism.

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