; Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology
; Energy & Fuels
Energy-intensive chemical conversion of crude algal oils into biodiesel is a major barrier for cost-effective algal biofuel production. To overcome this problem, we developed an enzyme-based platform for conversion of crude algal oils into fatty acid methyl esters. Crude algal oils were extracted from the oleaginous microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica IMET1 and converted by an immobilized lipase from Candida antarctica. The effects of different acyl acceptors, t-butanol as a co-solvent, oil to t-butanol ratio, oil to methanol ratio, temperature and reaction time on biodiesel conversion efficiency were studied. The conversion efficiency reached 99.1% when the conversion conditions were optimized, i.e., an oil to t-butanol weight ratio of 1:1, an oil to methanol molar ratio of 1:12, and a reaction time of 4 h at 25 degrees C. The enzymatic conversion process developed in this study may hold a promise for low energy consumption, low wastewater-discharge biochemical conversion of algal feedstocks into biofuels. Published by Elsevier Ltd.