Recovery of phycobiliproteins from the red macroalga Gracilaria sp using ionic liquid aqueous solutions


Bioactive compounds extracted from natural renewable sources have attracted increased interest from both industry and academia. Several biocompounds are present in red macroalgae, among which R-phycoerythrin (R-PE), which is a phycobiliprotein with a wide range of applications. The major drawback associated with it is the absence of an efficient, low cost and green extraction and purification methodology capable of recovering phycobiliproteins (and, in particular, R-phycoerythrin) from the biomass, while maintaining their structure and activity. The search for novel and higher performance extraction processes is thus of extreme relevance. In this work, aqueous solutions of ionic liquids were screened for the extraction of phycobiliproteins from Gracilaria sp. The most promising solvents were identified and operational conditions such as extraction time, solid-liquid ratio, solvent concentration and pH were optimized aiming to develop a new and more efficient approach to extract phycobiliproteins. The efficiency of the proposed process is demonstrated with aqueous solutions of cholinium chloride, since the extraction of phycobiliproteins was increased to 46.5% when compared with the conventional methodology, while the protein secondary structure and the chromophore conformation integrity are maintained.



subject category

Chemistry; Science & Technology - Other Topics


Martins, M; Vieira, FA; Correia, I; Ferreira, RAS; Abreu, H; Coutinho, JAP; Ventura, SPM

our authors


The authors are grateful for the financial support of international funding from the program Ciencias sem Fronteiras (Brazil) through the post-doctoral grant of Flavia Aparecida Vieira, process number 249485/2013-3. This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 (FCT Ref. UID/CTM/50011/2013), financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 partnership agreement. The authors are also grateful to Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT) for the post-doctoral grant SFRH/BPD/79263/2011 of S.P.M. Ventura. I. Correia thanks FCT for program Investigador FCT and project UID/QUI/00100/2013.

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