Saltwater based fractionation and valorisation of macroalgae

Jones, ES, Raikova, S, Ebrahim, S, Parsons, S, Allen, MJ and Chuck, CJ 2020 Saltwater based fractionation and valorisation of macroalgae. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology, 95 (8). 2098-2109.

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BACKGROUND: Macroalgae are gaining increasing interest as an important biomass feedstock. Yet when valorising marine bio�mass, the presence of salt can pose a substantial obstacle to the effectiveness of downstream biological and chemical processes, as well as the engineering infrastructure required. Accordingly, dewatering, washing and drying are often considered the first and crucial primary steps in processing marine biomass such macroalgae. The high costs of these processes can make further marine biorefinery commercialisation prohibitive. This investigation assesses simple pre-treatments for macroalgal biomass in saltwater, thereby reducing the freshwater footprint, and removing the need for an energy-intensive washing and drying stage. RESULTS: Using acid and basic catalysts, the carbohydrate and soluble protein components were fractionated into a soluble aqueous phase, for further fermentation and a solid phase suitable for hydrothermal liquefaction. The presence of saltwater was found to aid the fractionation process, solubilising more of the biomass. The use of H2SO4 produced more monosaccha�rides, whereas NaOH solubilised higher levels of biomass at lower temperatures. The aqueous phase was demonstrated to be suitable for biological processing with the salt tolerant yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima, and the residual solids suitable for processing via hydrothermal liquefaction. CONCLUSION: By contrast with existing pre-treatment strategies, we demonstrate that an entirely salt-based biochemical con�version route is a potentially viable option. For the first time this work demonstrates that, rather than a hindrance, the presence of saltwater can be advantageous, and could provide an alternative, more cost-effective pathway to achieving a successful macroalgal-based biorefinery. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: bioconversion; biomass; clean processes; algae; fermentation
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Biochemistry and Observations
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 14 May 2021 08:03
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 08:03

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