Micro Algae | Uses for Supercritical Fluids

Supercritical fluid extraction is an environmentally clean technology using carbon dioxide to isolate a variety of natural compounds from micro algae. This benign extraction process provides:

  • high selectivities
  • short extraction times
  • leaves no toxic solvent residues in the extract


Micro algae are microscopic algae found in fresh and marine waters. They are unicellular species which exist as individuals or in groups. Micro algae can range in size from a few micrometers to a few hundred micrometers. They are capable of photosynthesis and produce approximately half of the earth’s atmospheric oxygen and consume carbon dioxide to grow.


Micro algae are extremely diverse organisms and it has been estimated that about 500,000 different species exist that produce over 15,000 novel compounds. Most micro algae produce unique products like carotenoids, antioxidants, fatty acids, peptides, and sterols. These compounds are normally extracted  using toxic solvents which can cause compound degradation and leave unhealthy solvent residues in the extract.


Examples of compounds naturally extracted from micro algae using supercritical carbon dioxide.


Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis.


Alkadienes from
Botryococcus braunii


Carotenoids from
Chlorella vulgaris


Beta-carotene from
Dunaliella salina


Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) from Arthrospira maxima (Spirolina)

Which Supercritical System is Right for My Application?

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