Background: Experimental data and a complementary biophysical model are presented to describe the dynamic response of a unicellular microalga to osmotic processes encountered during cryopreservation. Method of Approach: Chlorococcum texanum (C. texanum) were mounted on a cryoperfusion microscope stage and exposed sequentially to various solutions of sucrose and methanol. Transient volumetric excursions were determined by capturing images of cells in real time and utilizing image analysis software to calculate cell volumes. A biophysical model was applied to the data via inverse analysis in order to determine the plasma membrane permeability to water and to methanol. The data were also used to determine the elastic modulus of the cell wall and its effect on cell volume. A three-parameter (hydraulic conductivity solute permeability; (ω), and reflection coefficient, (σ)) membrane transport model was fit to data obtained during methanol perfusion to obtain constitutive property values. These results were compared with the property values obtained for a two coefficient and ω) model. Results: The three-parameter model gave a value for σ not consistent with practical physical interpretation. Thus, the two-coefficient model is the preferred approach for describing simultaneous water and methanol transport. The rate of both water and methanol transport were strongly dependent on temperature over the measured temperature range (25°C to −5°C) and cells were appreciably more permeable to methanol than to water at all measured temperatures. Conclusion: These results may explain in part why methanol is an effective cryoprotective agent for microalgae.
Measurement and Simulation of Water and Methanol Transport in Algal Cells
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division September 2, 2003; revision received September 29, 2003. Associate Editor: C. Dong.
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Walsh, J. R., Diller, K. R., and Brand, J. J. (May 4, 2004). "Measurement and Simulation of Water and Methanol Transport in Algal Cells ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. April 2004; 126(2): 167–179. doi: https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1688775
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