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Integral Approach for the Evaluation of Sugar Cane Bio-Waste Molasses and Effects on Algal Lipids and Biodiesel Production

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Industrial waste molasses is one of the major soil pollutants. This waste increasingly affects land fertility, human health, and the environment. Hence, this study proposes an efficient method for the disposal of sugar cane residue and reutilization of value-added components from molasses juice. Algal strains (Oedogonium sp., Ulothrix sp., Cladophora sp., and Spirogyra sp.) are grown in several molasses concentrations. Their subsequent effect of molasses on algal growth, metabolite accumulation, lipid profiling, and biodiesel production are investigated for the first time. It was noticed that 0.5% molasses increase biomass production of all algal species. Compared to the control, the highest accumulation was 38% in Oedogonium sp. and 46% in Ulothrix sp. after 5 days. Total chlorophyll, carbohydrates, and protein were also increased in all species. Similarly, lipid content was increased from 21–43%, with suitable changes in the fatty acid profile C16 to C18 as a prerequisite for optimum biodiesel production. The efficacy of biodiesel was further verified by the biodiesel standards such as EN 14,214 and ASTM D6751 iodine value, saponification, cetane number, cold filter plugging point, density, kinematic viscosity, oxidative stability, long-chain saturation factor, and higher heating value are in the range of standards; all of these fuel properties were significantly improved in the molasses media. Molasses can stimulate algal species growth and metabolites synthesis, which ultimately produce higher lipid yield and better biofuel quality and quantity.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.



Analysis of variance


American Society for Testing and Materials


Central Composite Design


Cold filter plugging point


Cetane number


Coefficient of Variation


Number of double bonds


Number of double bonds in a given fatty acid


Degree of unsaturation


Fatty acid methyl ester


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


Higher heating value


Iodine value


Kinematic viscosity, υ


Long chain saturated factor


Mono unsaturated fatty acid


Molecular weight of a fatty acid


Percentage of a given fatty acid


Poly unsaturated fatty acid


Reactive Oxygen Species


Response surface methodology


Saponification value

Wt %:

Weight percentage




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Authors are also thankful to the management and team of JDW group of sugar mills Pakistan for provision of resources and technical support for this research.

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Authors and Affiliations



Maria Hasnain, Neelma Munir: Conceptualization, Investigation, Formal analysis, Methodology. Maria Hasnain, Faraz Ali: Writing – original draft. Supervision, Conceptualization and review & editing: Zamin Shaheed Siddiqui, Ali El-Keblawy and Zainul Abideen.

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Correspondence to Zainul Abideen.

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Hasnain, M., Munir, N., Siddiqui, Z.S. et al. Integral Approach for the Evaluation of Sugar Cane Bio-Waste Molasses and Effects on Algal Lipids and Biodiesel Production. Waste Biomass Valor 14, 23–42 (2023).

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