Screening for high-value products

The main objectives of WP3 are the screening of the supernatants and of the biomass of the microalgae cultures and the extraction, purification and chemical structure identification of  high-value compounds.

Microalgae produce many different families of molecules such as polysaccharides, pigments, haslenes, terpenoids (lipids) and procedures have to be applied to separate and isolate them. Different analytical techniques, chemical and enzymatic reactions are then used to define the molecular structure and to characterize the main  physico-chemical properties.

Concerning Haslea ostrearia, the main interest is focused on the blue pigment Marennine, which is present inside the cell and is also excreted. Why the microalga produces this molecule is still unknown and marennine dues its celebrity to the fact that it is responsible of oysters greening. In order to use marennine as a natural blue pigment in food or cosmetics,  its structure needs to be elucidated. Lipids could also have interesting applications as food integrators or  as original monomers in the synthesis of biobased materials.

Finally, when everything interesting has been extracted, there are still the silica frustules that could be turned into a useful resource both as inorganic charges in elastomers or in  other applications related to their hierarchical mesoporous structure, almost impossible to synthesize artificially.