EPE  Vol.12 No.6 , June 2020
Quantification of Lipid Content and Identification of the Main Lipid Classes Present in Microalgae Extracts Scenedesmus sp. for Obtaining Fatty Compounds for Biofuel Production
Abstract: Microalgae biomass has been reported in the literature as one of the most promising sources for obtaining different products of industrial interest such as lipids, fatty acids, carotenoids, proteins and fibers. The lipid fraction of microalgae comprises neutral lipids, free fatty acids and polar lipids. It is of great importance to estimate the composition of the lipid fraction to define the potential for use, either as a raw material for the production of biofuels or for use for nutraceuticals and/or food purposes. The microalgae Scenedesmus sp. cultivated in a photobioreactor, the sky open raceway type, was evaluated for lipid content, identification and quantification of lipid components obtained from different extracts. In the quantification of the lipid content, extraction methods were proposed without chemical treatment (use of solvents 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 as J-Schmid-Bondzynski-Ratzlaff (acid) and saponification (basic). For the identification of the main lipid components present in the extracts, the Thin layer chromatography (TLC) technique was used. This made it possible, using a simple and inexpensive method, to identify the compounds extracted by different extraction methods, that is, it was possible to verify the selectivity of the different extraction methods. In addition, it has been shown that using these methods, widely described in the literature as methods of extracting lipids in practice, extracts a wide diversity of compounds. The levels of lipids obtained via solvent extraction were up to 50% higher than those obtained with chemical treatment. In lipid extracts, obtained via solvent extraction, the presence of polar compounds, glycerides, carotenoids, pigments and sterols was identified, with up to 53% being composed of an unsaponifiable fraction, thus, presenting low selectivity for extracting fatty components. The acidic and basic 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 to quantify the lipids, the selectivity for obtaining the grease fraction, fundamental for conversion into biofuels, varies and the total lipid content may be overestimated.
Cite this paper: Viegas, C. , Mendes, L. , João, R. , Díaz, G. , Aranda, D. and Cruz, Y. (2020) Quantification of Lipid Content and Identification of the Main Lipid Classes Present in Microalgae Extracts Scenedesmus sp. for Obtaining Fatty Compounds for Biofuel Production. Energy and Power Engineering, 12, 273-287. doi: 10.4236/epe.2020.126017.

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