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Bioresour Technol. 2012 Jul;116:295-301. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.03.078. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

A novel process for enhancing oil production in algae biorefineries through bioconversion of solid by-products.

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Satake Centre for Grain Process Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, Manchester University, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom.


This paper focuses on a novel process for adding value to algae residue. In current processes oleaginous microalgae are grown and harvested for lipid production leaving a lipid-free algae residue. The process described here includes conversion of the carbohydrate fraction into glucose prior to lipid extraction. This can be fermented to produce up to 15% additional lipids using another oleaginous microorganism. It was found that in situ enzymes can hydrolyze storage carbohydrates in the algae into glucose and that a temperature of 55 °C for about 20 h gave the best glucose yield. Up to 75% of available carbohydrates were converted to a generic fermentation feedstock containing 73 g/L glucose. The bioconversion step was found to increase the free water content by 60% and it was found that when the bioconversion was carried out prior to the extraction step, it improved the solvent extractability of lipids from the algae.

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