Graphene coated magnetic nanoparticles facilitate the release of biofuels and oleochemicals from yeast cell factories

Santosh Pandit, Oliver Konzock, Kirsten Leistner, Vrss Mokkapati, Alessandra Merlo, Jie Sun, Ivan Mijakovic*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Engineering of microbial cells to produce high value chemicals is rapidly advancing. Yeast, bacteria and microalgae are being used to produce high value chemicals by utilizing widely available carbon sources. However, current extraction processes of many high value products from these cells are time- and labor-consuming and require toxic chemicals. This makes the extraction processes detrimental to the environment and not economically feasible. Hence, there is a demand for the development of simple, effective, and environmentally friendly method for the extraction of high value chemicals from these cell factories. Herein, we hypothesized that atomically thin edges of graphene having ability to interact with hydrophobic materials, could be used to extract high value lipids from cell factories. To achieve this, array of axially oriented graphene was deposited on iron nanoparticles. These coated nanoparticles were used to facilitate the release of intracellular lipids from Yarrowia lipolytica cells. Our treatment process can be integrated with the growth procedure and achieved the release of 50% of total cellular lipids from Y. lipolytica cells. Based on this result, we propose that nanoparticles coated with axially oriented graphene could pave efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective way to release intracellular lipids from yeast cell factories.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20612
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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