Biorefinery of Dunaliella salina: Sustainable recovery of carotenoids, polar lipids and glycerol

Joana Monte, Cláudia Ribeiro, Celina Parreira, Luís Costa, Lena Brive, Susana Casal, Carla Brazinha, João G. Crespo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Dunaliella salina is well-known for its high content in carotenoids and glycerol. Nevertheless, Dunaliella salina has also a high content in lipids, including polar lipids, which are suitable for nutraceutical/cosmeceutical applications. This work proposes a sustainable process to maximise the potential of Dunaliella salina for the production of distinct fractions of carotenoids, glycerol, polar lipids and proteins, which may contribute to improve the revenues of the microalgae industry. In this work, extraction with non-hazardous solvents and organic solvent nanofiltration are integrated, in order to obtain added-value products and glycerol. Also, aiming to separate carotenoids from glycerides, a saponification process is proposed. High overall recoveries were obtained for carotenoids (85%), glycerol (86%), polar lipids (94%) and proteins (95%). In order to evaluate the profitability of the proposed biorefinery, an economic assessment was accomplished. Both CAPEX and OPEX (Capital and Operating expenditure) were calculated, likewise the Return of Investment (ROI).

Original languageEnglish
Article number122509
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Dunaliella salina
  • Microalgae biorefinery
  • Non-hazardous solvents
  • Saponification
  • Solvent extraction
  • Solvent resistant membranes


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