(758e) Macroemulsion Mixture Assisted Organic Solvent Extraction of Algal Lipids from Unconcentrated Algal Culture

Smith, J. Jr., University of Alabama in Huntsville
Lei, Y., University of Alabama in Huntsville
Vogler, B., University of Alabama in Huntsville
Petroleum fuels are non-renewable resources that is rapidly depleting. To meet the demand for energy while slowing the growth of petroleum fuel consumption, there is a growing interest in algal biofuels as a sustainable alternative form of energy. Algal lipid extraction is considered a major bottleneck to biofuels derived from microalgae due to their extremely small size, tough cell wall, suspended in dilute cultures, and cell density similar to that of the surrounding growth medium (1). Conventional methods of algal lipid extraction generally requires long extraction times, dried algal biomass with little water content, and high energy inputs (2). Therefore, the development of an effective and energy efficient algal lipid extraction process is critical for a successful implementation of microalgae based biofuel.

This study demonstrates a procedure for lipid extraction from microalgae culture using a mixture of macroemulsion and organic solvents at room temperature. This method does not require harvesting and dehydration of the algal biomass. The effects of extraction variables were investigated. The results showed that the macroemulsion mixture assisted solvent extraction method extracted 83-87% of total recoverable lipids at a mixing time of less than 1 min. No significant differences in terms of distribution of fatty acid profile have been obtained when compared to the Bligh and Dyer method. Evaluation of energy consumption indicates a substantial reduction in extraction costs compared to other methods.


(1) N. Uduman, Y. Qi, M. K. Danquah, and A. F. A. Hoadley, â??Marine microalgae flocculation and focused beam reflectance measurement,â? Chem. Eng. J., 162 (3), pp. 935â??940, (2010).

(2) R. Halim, M. K. Danquah, and P. A. Webley, â??Extraction of oil from microalgae for biodiesel production: A review,â? Biotechnol. Adv., 30 (3), pp. 709â??732, (2012).