Association/Company: Università di Bologna
Laura Pezzolesi is researcher (RTDb) in General Botany at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna.
She obtained her PhD in Environmental Sciences with a focus on the study of harmful microalgae, with particular interest in the dynamics of growth and development of blooms and production of algal toxins.
He carried out research activities as visiting scientist at Plant Research International (Wageningen, The Netherlands), NRC-CNRC (Halifax, Canada) and NOAA (Charleston, South Carolina, USA).
Currently his research is focused on the dynamics and monitoring of phytoplankton and phytobenthos in coastal areas, the production of allelopathic compounds by marine algae and their role in the interactions between different organisms, and the cultivation of microalgae producing bioactive compounds and their extraction for industrial applications.
Technologies and innovations for microalgae cultivation
Astaxanthin extraction from Haematoccocus pluvialis cultures using a milking approach and eco-sustainable solvents
Haematococcus pluvialis cysts of different ages were extracted with unconventional solvents (vegetable oil and deep eutectic solvents-DESs) and their performances were evaluated in terms of astaxanthin extraction, toxicity towards algae and extract stability.
Almond oil and DESs composed by thymol and oleic acid (TAO) showed great extraction efficiencies (60-70%), especially when young cysts were extracted.
The milking approach resulted effective only with oil. Since astaxanthin easily degrades due to heat, oxygen and light exposure, stability of the extracts in DESs and oil was studied.
In most of the solvents a significant degradation was observed, while TAO showed great stabilization potential also when exposed to high light irradiance (40% of the initial astaxanthin content after 13.5 h), attesting that some deep eutectic solvents could enhance the stability of the extract.