Pretreatment of microalgal biomass possessing rigid cell wall is a critical step for enhancing the efficiency of microalgal biorefinery. However, the conventional pretreatment processes suffer the drawbacks of complex processing steps, long processing time, low conversion efficiency and high processing costs. This significantly hinders the industrial applicability of microalgal biorefinery. The innovative electricity-aid pretreatment techniques serve as a promising processing tool to extensively enhance the release of intracellular substances from microalgae. In this review, application of electric field-based techniques and recent advances of using electrical pretreatments on microalgae cell focusing on pulsed electric field, electrolysis, high voltage electrical discharges and moderate electric field are reviewed. In addition, the emerging techniques integrating electrolysis with liquid biphasic flotation process as promising downstream approach is discussed. This review delivers broad knowledge of the present significance of the application of these methods focusing on the development of electric assisted biomolecules extraction from microalgae.
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