High-efficiency cell disruption and astaxanthin recovery from Haematococcus pluvialis cyst cells using room-temperature imidazolium-based ionic liquid/water mixtures

Sun A. Choi, You Kwan Oh, Jiye Lee, Sang Jun Sim, Min Eui Hong, Ji Yeon Park, Min Sik Kim, Seung Wook Kim, Jin Suk Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Energy-saving, high-efficiency cell disruption is a critical step for recovery of thermolabile antioxidant astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis cyst cells of rigid cell-wall structure. In this study, as room-temperature green solvents, 10 types of 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ([Emim])-based ionic liquids (ILs) were compared and evaluated for their abilities to disrupt H. pluvialis cyst cells for astaxanthin/lipid extraction. Among the 10 ILs tested, 3 [Emim]-based ILs with HSO4, CH3SO3, and (CF3SO2)2N anions were selected based on astaxanthin/lipid extraction performance and synthesis cost. When pretreated with IL/water mixtures, intact cyst cells were significantly torn, broken or shown to release cytoplasmic components, thereby facilitating subsequent separation of astaxanthin/lipid by hexane. However, excess IL pretreatments at high temperature/IL dosages and longer incubation times significantly deteriorated lipid and/or astaxanthin. Under optimized mild conditions (6.7% (v/v) IL in water solution, 30 °C, 60 min), almost complete astaxanthin recoveries (>99%) along with moderate lipid extractions (∼82%) could be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1



  • Astaxanthin extraction
  • Cell disruption
  • Haematococcus pluvialis cyst
  • Ionic liquid
  • Lipid extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

Cite this