Recovery of Astaxanthin-Containing Oil from Haematococcus pluvialis by Nano-dispersion and Oil Partitioning

Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2020 Apr;190(4):1304-1318. doi: 10.1007/s12010-019-03167-y. Epub 2019 Nov 21.


The feasibilities of cell disruption by homogenization-assisted high-pressure nano-dispersion and recovery of astaxanthin-containing oil by oil partitioning in oil-acetone-water solution were examined. The total fatty acid content of Haematococcus pluvialis was 414.6 mg/g cell, and the astaxanthin content was 4.4% of oil. Extra oil was added to the solution in order to recover oil through instability of dispersion status instead of solvent evaporation. A total amount of energy of 0.34 kWh/L was consumed for acetone evaporation at 50 °C, whereas fully 1.86 kWh/L of energy for water evaporation was consumed. When soybean oil was added to the solution after partial acetone evaporation, the oil-recovery yield was 97.8%, while the yield after full evaporation was 97.6% in 10-g/L solution. However, the energy consumed for partial evaporation (0.29 kWh/L) was much lower than that for full evaporation (0.40 kWh/L). When H. pluvialis oil was added to the solution after partial evaporation, the oil-recovery yield decreased to 90.6% due to the impurity of crude H. pluvialis oil in 10-g/L solution. Methods such as refining of H. pluvialis oil, increase of microalgae dosage for cell disruption, and increase of the injection amount of extra oil can help to enhance oil recovery.

Keywords: Acetone extraction; Astaxanthin; Carbon dioxide reduction; Nano-dispersion; Oil partitioning.

MeSH terms

  • Acetone / analysis
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Cell Wall
  • Chlorophyceae / metabolism*
  • Chlorophyta
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Microalgae
  • Oils / analysis*
  • Solubility
  • Soybeans
  • Temperature
  • Water / analysis
  • Xanthophylls / analysis


  • Fatty Acids
  • Oils
  • Xanthophylls
  • Water
  • Acetone
  • astaxanthine