Continuous aqueous two-phase extraction of microalgal C-phycocyanin using a coiled flow inverter

Federico Ruiz-Ruiz, Enrique López-Guajardo, Patricia Vázquez-Villegas, Martha E. del Angel-Chong, K. D.P. Nigam, Richard C. Willson, Marco Rito-Palomares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In this study, the intensification of C-phycocyanin protein extraction from the green microalgae Spirulina maxima was successfully achieved using aqueous two-phase systems coupled to different continuous-operation extractors. Three systems with different total concentrations of Polyethylene glycol and potassium phosphate salt were tested in three different types of continuous systems: a conventional straight-tube extractor, a helical-coiled extractor, and a coiled flow inverter extractor. Results showed that the coiled flow inverter extractor achieves higher overall performance than the other continuous extractors at the same flow rate and same residence time for all the concentrations tested. Similarly, all the continuous-operation extractors showed higher extraction performance than a batch-operation extractor for similar times tested. It was observed that extraction performance in the coiled flow inverter increases as flow rate increases (coefficient of partition increases 1.74 fold by increasing the flow rate from 10 mL/min to 30 mL/min). The C-phycocyanin extraction in this continuous system was benefited from a decrease in the extraction time with high Dean numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107554
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing - Process Intensification
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Aqueous two-phase system
  • C-phycocyanin
  • Coiled flow inverter
  • Continuous extraction
  • Microalgae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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