Extraction and Fractionation of Pigments from Saccharina latissima (Linnaeus, 2006) Using an Ionic Liquid plus Oil plus Water System


There is a strong industrial interest in the development of greener and more sustainable processes based on the use of renewable resources, and a biorefinery based on marine resources, such as macroalgae, stands as a major opportunity toward that end. In this work, Saccharina latissima (Linnaeus), a brown macroalga, was used as a source of pigments to develop an integrated platform that is able to promote the extraction and separation of chlorophyll and fucoxanthin in one single step. The process was studied, and its operational conditions were optimized with yields of extraction of chlorophyll and fucoxanthin of 4.93 +/- 0.22 m(gchl).g(dry biomass)(-1) and 1956 +/- 84 mu g(fuco).g(dry biomass)(-1), respectively. These results were achieved with extraction systems composed of 84% of an aqueous solution of a tensioactive phosphonium-based ionic liquid (IL) at 350 mM + 16% of sunflower oil, during 40 min, using a solid-liquid ratio of 0.017 g(dry biomass).mL(solvent)(-1). After the separation of both aqueous IL-rich and oil-rich phases, the IL content in both phases was investigated, the oil phase being free of IL. Envisioning the industrial potential of the process developed in this work, the recovery of the IL from the aqueous IL-rich phase of the initial system was attempted by a back-extraction using organic solvents immiscible in water, being shown that 82% of the IL can be recovered and reused in new cycles of extraction. The environmental and economic impacts of the final process proposed for the extraction and fractionation of chlorophyll and fucoxanthin were evaluated. Different scenarios were considered, but summing up the main results, the solvents' recycling allowed better results, proving the economic and environmental viability of the overall process.



subject category

Chemistry, Multidisciplinary; Green & Sustainable Science & Technology; Engineering, Chemical


Martins, M; Mesquita, LMD; Vaz, BMC; Dias, ACRV; Torres-Acosta, MA; Queguineur, B; Coutinho, JAP; Ventura, SPM

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020, and CESAM UIDB/50017/2020 & UIDP/50017/2020; financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC; and when appropriate, co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. M.M. and A.D. thank Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT) for the PhD grant (SFRH/BD/122220/2016) and research contract (CEECIND/02174/2017), respectively. This work was funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme (project ID 727892, GenialG -GENetic diversity exploitation for Innovative Macro-ALGal biorefinery, http://genialgproject.eu/).

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