Document Type : Research Paper
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
The aim of this study was to assess the lipid content and the subsequent potential of different microalgae present in the Mauritian marine water to produce biodiesel. The share of micro-phytoplankton species in the water column was determined. The cyanobacterial mats and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates were characterised morphologically and genetically using RFLP. The samples were quantified gravimetrically and analysed using 1H &13C NMR spectroscopy. Total micro-phytoplankton count amounted to 6.59±1.27x105 cells L-1which was dominated by diatoms (95.2%), followed by dinoflagellates (2.9%) and cyanobacteria (1.9%). The cyanobacterial mats were identified as Leptolyngbya sp. and Nodularia harveyana, and the RFLP characterised the endosymbiotic dinoflagellates as the Symbiodinium clade C. The highest amount of lipid was recorded in the Symbiodinium clade C (38.39±6.58%). 1H and 13C NMR analyses indicated the presence of acyl glycerols. An attempt to synthesise biodiesel by alkaline trans-esterification reaction was also performed and the presence of biodiesel was detected using the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. The Infrared analysis yielded peaks at around 1738cm-1 and 1200cm-1 characteristic of the carbonyl and ether groups respectively, indicating the presence of biodiesel.