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The cultivation and exploitation of microalgae biomass as a source of renewable fuels and other chemicals has been an active area of research due to microalgae’s high productivity and the relatively high concentrations of valuable intracellular components, like lipids (fatty acid-based oils), proteins, and polysaccharides. Commercialization of this technology will help mitigate global climate change by reducing fossil-derived products by producing analog renewable fuels and chemicals. Traditionally, the main focus of microalgae-based fuels/chemicals research and development has been on the lipids that many strains generate, but current research shows that solely recovering the oils may not be cost competitive with fossil-derived processes. However, if the polysaccharides can also be recovered and ultimately converted into useful chemical intermediates, this may improve the economics for microalgae-based sustainable product technologies.

In this study, previously developed methods for carbohydrate extraction by microwave assisted hydrolysis were further investigated to optimize extraction conditions from Chlorella Vulgaris microalgae. The optimized microwave-assisted hydrolysis conditions resulted in the carbohydrate extraction of greater than 30% of dry Chlorella biomass, which is higher than traditional extraction methods by an autoclave. It was concluded that the microwave increased cell wall rupture compared to an autoclave and thus released more of the sugars contained in the cell wall. Using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with a refractive index detector, I was able to identify that 98% of the total carbohydrates in the extracted fluids were a combination of glucose, galactose and mannose which is crucial because they do not require further hydrolysis prior to biofuel production.

Course: IRES Program

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Grand Forks, ND


Microalgae, Chlorella Vulgaris, Carbohydrate, Microwave, Acid Hydrolysis, Liquid Chromatography




Presented at the Winter 2018 Undergraduate Showcase Grand Forks, ND, December 6, 2018.

Carbohydrate Extraction from the Chorella Vulgaris Microalgae Strain

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