Search for growth and productivity stimulators of microalgae Chlorella vulgaris


Biomass and metabolites of the unicellular green algae Chlorella vulgaris are used or have prospects of application in various fields: food industry, agriculture, fish farming, production of cosmetics and medicines (see the table below).


The objective of our research is to search for small organic molecules (molecules with a molecular weight of less than 1 kDa) that affect the growth of Chlorella and the production of valuable metabolites by its cells. To reach this goal, we use a screening method: we add various chemical molecules to the algae culture (mainly from the group of heterocyclic compounds) and after a few days we measure change of biomass in control and experimental samples. Substances that increase the cell growth, we subject to further, more detailed study.



Synthesis and application of nanozymes in immunoassays


In a modern laboratory diagnostics, the main method of quantitative analysis of biomarkers is enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Enzymes such as horseradish peroxidase and alkaline phosphatase convert colorless substrates into colored products, which makes them effective labels in ELISA. Nanozymes are nanomaterials possessing enzyme-like activity, though mechanism of action of nanozymes and enzymes can be different. Nanozymes mimicking horseradish peroxidase (transition metal nanoparticles, carbon nanomaterials) offer some advantages in comparison with natural enzyme:

  • Better physical-chemical stability

  • Tunable activity

  • Cheaper synthesis



Protein nano- and microparticles


Protein molecules are excellent building blocks for nanoparticle synthesis, because they are non-toxic, biodegradable and contain diverse functional groups suitable for cross-linking and functionalization. Protein nanoparticles can entrap various compounds including drugs or luminescent tracers, which makes them promising tools in drug delivery and bioimaging.


Our research group takes advantage of protein nanoparticles in the field of in vitro diagonstics. We work with albumin and gelatin nanoparticles synthesized by desolvation method. The method involves addition of water-miscible organic solvent to a protein solution. At a certain concentration of poor solvent solubility of protein decreases and its molecules assemble into round-shaped nano- or microparticles, which size depends on pH, ionic strength, protein concentration, nature of solvent, and so on. Various labeles (enzymes, quantum dots, luminescent molecules, nanozymes, magnetic tags) can be added to the reaction medium and encapsulated in the nanoparticles endowing them with desirable properties.