Chloroform and methanol are superior solvents for lipid extraction from photosynthetic microorganisms, because they can overcome the resistance offered by the cell walls and membranes, but they are too toxic and expensive to use for large-scale fuel production. Biomass from the photosynthetic microalga Scenedesmus, subjected to a commercially available pre-treatment technology called Focused-Pulsed® (FP), yielded 3.1-fold more crude lipid and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) after extraction with a range of solvents. FP treatment increased the FAME-to-crude-lipid ratio for all solvents, which means that the extraction of non-lipid materials was minimized, while the FAME profile itself was unchanged compared to the control. FP treatment also made it possible to use only a small proportion of chloroform and methanol, along with isopropanol, to obtain equivalent yields of lipid and FAME as with 100% chloroform plus methanol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-461
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME)
  • Folch
  • Isopropanol
  • Lipids
  • Pulsed electric field (PEF)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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