Algae - Uses for Supercritical Fluids

Uses and Markets 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)

Applied Separations have a proven commitment to advancing Supercritical Fluids technology and have worked with companies all over the world to incorporate supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) into their processes. Thanks to their world class R&D team, in-house engineers, and visionary approach, Applied Separations work hard to develop and enhance applications of this green technology in many unexpected industries.


Have an application in mind? Please contact iBiosys Solutions and, together with Applied Separations, we will work with you to develop a supercritical fluid application fit for your needs.