Fatty acid alkanolamides (FAAA) are lipid derivatives with industrial applications as biosurfactants and biolubricants. Although conventionally produced from vegetable oils, use of alternative renewable sources that do not compete with the food supply chain, such as microalgae, is desirable. We studied the production of FAAA through direct in situ amidation of algal biomass or by amidation of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) recovered from in situ transesterification of algae. In situ transesterification resulted in spontaneous formation of a distinct FAME phase, which could be easily recovered and converted to FAAA. With this two-step transesterification-followed-by-amidation method, >95% of algal lipids were recovered as FAAA products. In situ amidation did not result in a separate product phase, likely because of the amphiphilic nature of the product. However, extraction with ethyl acetate allowed recovery of nearly 90% of the biomass lipids as FAAA after in situ amidation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering