Feasibility of Spectroscopic Characterization of Algal Lipids: Chemometric Correlation of NIR and FTIR Spectra with Exogenous Lipids in Algal Biomass

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Abstract

A large number of algal biofuels projects rely on a lipid screening technique for selecting a particular algal strain with which to work. We have developed a multivariate calibration model for predicting the levels of spiked neutral and polar lipids in microalgae, based on infrared (both near-infrared (NIR) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)) spectroscopy. The advantage of an infrared spectroscopic technique over traditional chemical methods is the direct, fast, and non-destructive nature of the screening method. This calibration model provides a fast and high-throughput method for determining lipid content, providing an alternative to laborious traditional wet chemical methods. We present data of a study based on nine levels of exogenous lipid spikes (between 1% and 3% (w/w)) of trilaurin as a triglyceride and phosphatidylcholine as a phospholipid model compound in lyophilized algal biomass. We used a chemometric approach to corrrelate the main spectral changes upon increasing phospholipid and triglyceride content in algal biomass collected from single species. A multivariate partial least squares (PLS) calibration model was built and improved upon with the addition of multiple species to the dataset. Our results show that NIR and FTIR spectra of biomass from four species can be used to accurately predict the levels of exogenously added lipids. It appears that the cross-species verification of the predictions is more accurate with the NIR models (R2 = 0.969 and 0.951 and RMECV = 0.182 and 0.227% for trilaurin and phosphatidylcholine spike respectively), compared with FTIR (R2 = 0.907 and 0.464 and RMECV = 0.302 and 0.767% for trilaurin and phosphatidylcholine spike, respectively). A fast high-throughput spectroscopic lipid fingerprinting method can be applied in a multitude of screening efforts that are ongoing in the microalgal research community.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)22-35
Number of pages14
JournalBioenergy Research
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-47110

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Chemometrics
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Lipids
  • Microalgae
  • Multivariate calibration

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