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Quantification of Lipid Content and Identification of the Main Lipid Classes Present in Microalgae Extracts Scenedesmus sp. for Obtaining Fatty Compounds for Biofuel Production

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: Microalgae biomass has been reported in the literature as one of the mostpromising sources for obtaining different products of industrial interest suchas lipids, fatty acids, carotenoids, proteins and fibers. The lipid fraction ofmicroalgae comprises neutral lipids, free fatty acids and polar lipids. It isof great importance to estimate the composition of the lipid fraction to definethe potential for use, either as a raw material for the production of biofuelsor for use for nutraceuticals and or food purposes. The microalgae Scenedesmus sp. cultivated in aphotobioreactor, the sky open raceway type, wasevaluated for lipid content, identification and quantification of lipidcomponents obtained from different extracts. In the quantification of the lipidcontent, extraction methods were proposed without chemical treatment (use ofsolvents only) such as chloroform:methanol (2:1 v v)—Bligh & Dyer, Ethanol,Ethyl acetate:Hexane (1:1 v v) and others with chemical treatment such asJ-Schmid-Bondzynski-Ratzlaff (acid) and saponification (basic). For theidentification of the main lipid components present in the extracts, the Thinlayer chromatography (TLC) technique was used. This made it possible, using asimple and inexpensive method, to identify the compounds extracted by differentextraction methods, that is, it was possible to verify the selectivity of thedifferent extraction methods. In addition, it has been shown that using thesemethods, widely described in the literature as methods of extracting lipids inpractice, extracts a wide diversity of compounds. The levels of lipids obtained via solventextraction were up to 50 higher than those obtained with chemical treatment.In lipid extracts, obtained via solvent extraction, the presence of polarcompounds, glycerides, carotenoids, pigments and sterols was identified, withup to 53 being composed of an unsaponifiable fraction, thus,presenting low selectivity for extracting fatty components. The acidic andbasic treatments applied to the biomass of Scenedesmus sp. showed greater selectivity for obtaining fat components of 71.47 and 94.99 ,respectively. The results showed that depending on the solvent method used toquantify the lipids, the selectivity for obtaining the grease fraction,fundamental for conversion into biofuels, varies and the total lipid contentmay be overestimated.

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