High-Yield Production of Biohybrid Microalgae for On-Demand Cargo Delivery

Mukrime Birgul Akolpoglu, Nihal Olcay Dogan, Ugur Bozuyuk, Hakan Ceylan, Seda Kizilel, Metin Sitti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biohybrid microswimmers exploit the swimming and navigation of a motile microorganism to target and deliver cargo molecules in a wide range of biomedical applications. Medical biohybrid microswimmers suffer from low manufacturing yields, which would significantly limit their potential applications. In the present study, a biohybrid design strategy is reported, where a thin and soft uniform coating layer is noncovalently assembled around a motile microorganism. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (a single-cell green alga) is used in the design as a biological model microorganism along with polymer–nanoparticle matrix as the synthetic component, reaching a manufacturing efficiency of ≈90%. Natural biopolymer chitosan is used as a binder to efficiently coat the cell wall of the microalgae with nanoparticles. The soft surface coating does not impair the viability and phototactic ability of the microalgae, and allows further engineering to accommodate biomedical cargo molecules. Furthermore, by conjugating the nanoparticles embedded in the thin coating with chemotherapeutic doxorubicin by a photocleavable linker, on-demand delivery of drugs to tumor cells is reported as a proof-of-concept biomedical demonstration. The high-throughput strategy can pave the way for the next-generation generation microrobotic swarms for future medical active cargo delivery tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2001256
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
  • biohybrids
  • chitosan
  • drug delivery
  • light-triggered drug release
  • microalgae
  • microrobots
  • microswimmers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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