Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Reyes F.A., Mendiola J.A., Suárez-Álvarez S., Ibáñez E. and del Valle J.M. (2016)

Adsorbent-assisted supercritical CO2 extraction of carotenoids from Neochloris oleoabundans paste

Revista : Journal of Supercritical Fluids
Volumen : 112
Páginas : 7-13
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Neochloris oleoabundans emerges as alternative source of bioactives that complies with the algae-based biorefinery concept, which consists of a platform that offers a multitude of algae bioproducts. The development of an integrated extractive processes in line with the green chemistry principles have motivated the use of Supercritical CO2 (scCO2), as an alternative to toxic organic solvents, for the extraction of bioactives. However, process integration and optimization is challenging because microalgae are grown in liquid cultures, therefore is often necessary a drying step prior to scCO2 extraction. Moreover, this step is usually energy intensive and risks damaging the compound’s bioactivity. An alternative is the simultaneous extraction process of the microalgae paste (containing around 70–80% water), nevertheless little information is available that explores this type of extraction. This work aims to explore the direct extraction of microalgae paste and to evaluate the effect of water on carotenoid extractions of N. oleoabundans. To study the extraction under a batch-wise system, an indirect extraction system was developed by mixing the microalgae paste with low cost adsorbents as support medium. Two types of silica gels, two different chitosans and active carbon were tested as adsorbents; sea sand was used as inert control. All of the materials showed different adsorbent capacity, being chitosan adsorbents those with higher capacity. However, oleoresin yield and recovery was negligible in a system with only scCO2 as a solvent and ethanol as co-solvent was required to improve the extraction yield. Although the overall oleoresin recoveries were low for all adsorbents (ranging from 2 to 10%), chitosan-assisted extraction showed the highest carotenoid recoveries (60–140% g/g) surpassing acetone benchmark extraction in case of chitosan microspheres. These results are interesting for the development of low energy consumption processes, since there is no need to dry the microalgal paste.