, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 949-958,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Nov 2010

Phase toxicity of dodecane on the microalga Dunaliella salina


In the so-called milking process of Dunaliella salina carotenoids are extracted and simultaneously produced by the culture, whilst the biomass concentration remains constant. Different theories exist about the extraction mechanisms although none have been proven yet. In this research, direct contact between dodecane and cells during the extraction process was studied microscopically and effects of direct contact were determined during in situ extraction experiments. Our results showed that water–solvent interphase contact resulted in cell death. This cell death and consequent cell rupture resulted in the release and concomitant extraction of the carotenoids. Furthermore, it has been suggested to add a small amount of dichloromethane to the biocompatible dodecane to create an organic phase with more extraction capacity. Our results showed that the addition of dichloromethane resulted in increased cell death and consequently the extraction rate increased. The improved solubility of carotenoids in an organic phase with dichloromethane did not significantly increase the extraction rate.