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Lipid Profiling for Biofuels

Biodiesel fuel production requires glyceride analysis to determine the carbon-chain length and degree of unsaturation in the feedstock, along with the measurement of other residual glycerides present after the transesterification process.

Greener Analytical Solutions to Oily Problems

Lipid profiling is commonly performed using gas chromatography (GC); however, new analytical methods based on high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are proving more convenient as they eliminate the chemical derivatization step necessary for GC analysis of lipids. In addition, the high temperatures associated with GC can cause pyrolysis of certain lipids thus compromising the mass closure calculations typically performed to determine the total composition of biomass. HPLC methods run at ambient temperature are fast becoming the preferred method for biomass lipid profiling.

Dionex’s HPLC solution, with evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD) features fast run times, reduced solvent consumption, and elimination of chlorinated solvents for a lipid profiling analysis that is significantly less harmful to the environment. The classic ASTM method for determining residual glycerides in biodiesel by liquid chromatography requires long run times and the use of a chlorinated solvent.

Carbohydrate Profiling in Algae Biomass

Efficient production of biodiesel from microalgae requires analysis of all cell products, including carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. While lipid profiling is important, complete characterization of the carbohydrate breakdown products is essential for nutrient recycling to determine which sugars are best absorbed by the algae. Carbohydrate analyses of microalgal biomass often contain complex mixtures of C5 and C6 sugars, requiring a high-resolution, high-sensitivity technique capable of separating and quantifying trace-level carbohydrates of interest in the presence of multiple interfering compounds.

Dionex LC methods provide quick, simple, selective analysis of carbohydrates in microalgal biomass. Coupled with the added power of MS detection, you can achieve more complete carbohydrate characterization than ever before.

Advantages of Ion Chromatography for Biofuels Analysis

  • Provides simultaneous determination of multiple target compounds
  • Permits direct injection with minimal sample pretreatment
  • Provides direct detection without derivatization
  • Allows accurate quantitation of analytes in complex matrices