Algal Chemical Composition

Nature gave us oil from algae; perhaps we should try Nature’s way again 

Algae are made up of eukaryotic cells (Eukaryote – from Wikipedia). These are cells with nuclei and organelles. All algae all have plastids, the bodies with chlorophyll that carry out photosynthesis. But the various lines of algae have different combinations of chlorophyll molecules. Some have only Chlorophyll A, some A and B, while other lines, A and C.

All algae primary comprise of the following, in varying proportions: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats and Nucleic Acids. While the percentages vary with the type of algae, there are algae types that are comprised up to 40% of their overall mass by fatty acids. It is this fatty acid (oil) that can be extracted and converted into biodiesel. 

Table 1 - Chemical Composition of Algae 
Expressed on A Dry Matter Basis (%) 
 Source: Becker, (1994)
Algal-oil is very high in unsaturated fatty acids. Some UFA's found in different algal-species include:
  • Arachidonic acid(AA)
  • Eicospentaenoic acid(EPA)
  • Docasahexaenoic acid(DHA)
  • Gamma-linolenic acid(GLA)
  • Linoleic acid(LA)
The interest in algal oil is not new, though the widespread interest in making Biodiesel from algal oil is more recent. Algae oil has been produced and used for the cosmetic industry, primarily from macroalgae (larger sized algae) such as oarleaf Seaweed etc. Most current research on oil extraction from algae is however focused on microalgae. 

Source : OILGAE 

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