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Open AccessArticle

Efficient Extraction of a Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)-Rich Lipid Fraction from Thraustochytrium sp. Using Ionic Liquids

Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
Mara Renewables, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4T6, Canada
QUILL, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
Department of Process Engineering & Applied Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(10), 1986;
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a significant role in the modulation and prevention of various diseases, and hence are attracting increasing attention from the biotech industry. Thraustochytrids are marine heterokonts that exhibit robust growth rates, high PUFA content, and more specifically, a large percentage of omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Recently, ionic liquids (ILs) have been shown to improve the efficiency of organic solvent extraction of oils from wet oleaginous yeast and microalgae under mild conditions. Two ILs, the imidazolium 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethylsulfate [C2mim][EtSO4] IL and the phosphonium (tetrabutylphosphonium propanoate [P4444][Prop]) IL were assessed for their ability to facilitate extraction of PUFA-containing lipids from a Thraustochytrium sp. (T18) through efficient cell wall disruption. The oil extracted after IL pretreatment was further characterized with respect to fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) composition, while the effects of process parameters, such as the ratio of ionic liquid to co-solvent, the mass ratio of microalgae to the mixture of ionic liquid, and type of co-solvent were also investigated for both ILs. The results indicate that these ILs can disrupt the cells of Thraustochytrium sp. when mixed with a co-solvent (methanol), and facilitated the recovery of oils over a large degree of dewatered Thraustochytrium biomass (0–77.2 wt% water) in a short period of time (60 min) at ambient temperature, hence demonstrating a water compatible, low-energy, lipid recovery method. The lipid recovery was not affected by repeated usage of recycled ILs (tested up to five times). View Full-Text
Keywords: omega 3; ionic liquids; microalgae omega 3; ionic liquids; microalgae
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Zhang, Y.; Ward, V.; Dennis, D.; Plechkova, N.V.; Armenta, R.; Rehmann, L. Efficient Extraction of a Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)-Rich Lipid Fraction from Thraustochytrium sp. Using Ionic Liquids. Materials 2018, 11, 1986.

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