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Bioresour Technol. 2013 Apr;133:500-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.01.134. Epub 2013 Feb 9.

Utilization of acetic acid-rich pyrolytic bio-oil by microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: reducing bio-oil toxicity and enhancing algal toxicity tolerance.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


This work was to utilize acetic acid contained in bio-oil for growth and lipid production of the microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The acetic acid-rich bio-oil fraction derived from fast pyrolysis of softwood contained 26% (w/w) acetic acid, formic acid, methanol, furfural, acetol, and phenolics as identified compounds, and 13% (w/w) unidentified compounds. Among those identified compounds, phenolics were most inhibitory to algal growth, followed by furfural and acetol. To enhance the fermentability of the bio-oil fraction, activated carbon was used to reduce the toxicity of the bio-oil, while metabolic evolution was used to enhance the toxicity tolerance of the microalgae. Combining activated carbon treatment and using evolved algal strain resulted in significant algal growth improvement. The results collectively showed that fast pyrolysis-fermentation process was a viable approach for converting biomass into fuels and chemicals.

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