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SmaRt mEchanofluorochromic Microfluidics: an advanced tool to detect mEchanical stress on Microalgae cells for an efficient Bio-Energy Recovery

Microalgae can be considered as “biofuel sun-light driven factories”, however the extraction of the variety of high-valued compounds they can produce remains a highly energy-consuming process. The rigidity of their envelope plays a major role in this bottleneck. The LUMIN group has evidenced that mechanical compression of the algae can facilitate this extraction process. In parallel, the PPSM group has succeeded in developing so-called mechanofluorochromic molecules, i.e. fluorescent molecules able to detect mechanical forces. The objective of this interdisciplinary project is to combine these areas of expertise to develop a smart and novel mechanofluorochromic microfluidic device where the fluorescence is progressively switched on in the channels where algae have been mechanically stressed. Quantifying the force exerted on a microalgae will be a key step to understand how mechanical compression of a microalgae improves the extraction of the compounds of interest.

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