Supercritical Fluid Extraction of Fucoxanthin from the Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Biogas Production through Anaerobic Digestion

Mar Drugs. 2022 Feb 7;20(2):127. doi: 10.3390/md20020127.


Phaeodactylum tricornutum is the marine diatom best known for high-value compounds that are useful in aquaculture and food area. In this study, fucoxanthin was first extracted from the diatom using supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) and then using the extracted diatom-like substrate to produce bioenergy through anaerobic digestion (AD) processes. Factors such as temperature (30 °C and 50 °C), pressure (20, 30, and 40 MPa), and ethanol (co-solvent concentration from 10% to 50% v/v) were optimized for improving the yield, purity, and recovery of fucoxanthin extracted using SFE. The highest yield (24.41% w/w) was obtained at 30 MPa, 30 °C, and 30% ethanol but the highest fucoxanthin purity and recovery (85.03mg/g extract and 66.60% w/w, respectively) were obtained at 30 MPa, 30 °C, and 40%ethanol. Furthermore, ethanol as a factor had the most significant effect on the overall process of SFE. Subsequently, P.tricornutum biomass and SFE-extracted diatom were used as substrates for biogas production through AD. The effect of fucoxanthin was studied on the yield of AD, which resulted in 77.15 ± 3.85 LSTP CH4/kg volatile solids (VS) and 56.66 ± 1.90 LSTP CH4/kg VS for the whole diatom and the extracted P.tricornutum, respectively. Therefore, P.tricornutuman can be considered a potential source of fucoxanthin and methane and both productions will contribute to the sustainability of the algae-biorefinery processes.

Keywords: Phaeodactylum tricornutum; algae biorefinery; anaerobic digestion; co-solvent; fucoxanthin; supercritical fluid extraction.

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis / physiology
  • Biofuels*
  • Biomass
  • Chromatography, Supercritical Fluid / methods
  • Diatoms / metabolism*
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Temperature
  • Xanthophylls / isolation & purification*


  • Biofuels
  • Solvents
  • Xanthophylls
  • fucoxanthin
  • Ethanol