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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Comparisons of analysis of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) of microalgae by chromatographic techniques

Niemi, Calle; Lage, Sandra; Gentili, Francesco G.


In this study, we compared the performances of three gas chromatography (GC) based microalgal fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) analysis methods that are regularly applied to biofuel research using microalgae, specifically the GC-flame ionization detector (GC-FID) with packed and capillary column and a GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with capillary column. Three strains of Chlorophyta from distinct genera were assayed, namely Scenedesmus obliquus, Coelastrella sp., and Chlorella vulgaris grown in both synthetic growth medium and municipal wastewater. One-way ANOVA indicates statistically significant (p < 0.05) discrepancies in total FAMEs quantification by GC, particularly in the case of the capillary GC-FID, which estimated lower values than the other two. FAMEs profiles were comparable between methods, while some minor differences were apparent; GC-MS showed the biggest divergence.


Fatty acid methyl esters; Gas chromatography; Flame ionization detector; Mass spectrometry; Packed column; Capillary column

Published in

Algal Research
2019, Volume: 39, article number: 101449