High-yield dimethyl ether-based recovery of astaxanthin and fatty acids directly from wet Haematococcus pluvialis

Aye Aye Myint, Sabrinna Wulandari, Jongho Choi, Sang Jun Sim, Jaehoon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient and eco-friendly methods for extracting bioactive molecules are crucial for achieving economically viable microalgae biorefinery. In this study, high-value-added intracellular bioactive compounds were efficiently recovered directly from the red cysts of wet Haematococcus pluvialis. An integrated processes involving liquid dimethyl ether (l-DME) extraction at 45 °C and 2 MPa for 90 min and subsequent dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) extraction at 65 °C for 5 min enabled almost complete recovery of astaxanthin (99.6%) and total fatty acids (99.8%) from wet H. pluvialis cyst cells. Notably, this green and sustainable strategy did not involve high-cost and energy-intensive drying, or cell wall-disruption steps. l-DME extraction produced a solvent-free, dry extract with high astaxanthin (43.9 mg g−1 dry extract) and essential fatty acids (ω3, ω6, and ω9; 290.1 mg g−1 dry extract) contents; whereas the astaxanthin and fatty acid contents of the DMSO extract produced from raw H. pluvialis cyst cells (freeze-dried and ball-milled at 200 rpm for 30 min) were 1.5- and 1.7-fold lower, respectively. The dry extract also exhibited 1.6-fold greater antioxidant activity than the DMSO extract, thereby indicating its potential for direct application in nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmeceutical formulations with high bioactivity and safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124226
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE), Republic of Korea (No. 2021010000001B). Additional supports were received from a KETEP grant funded by the MOTIE (20224000000440, Sector coupling energy industry advancement manpower training program) and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), Republic of Korea (No. 2022M3A9F3017700).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Antioxidants
  • Astaxanthin
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Liquid dimethyl ether
  • Wet Haematococcus pluvialis cysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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