Enzymatic digestion of microalgal biomass for lipid, sugar and protein recovery


Project ID: D2013-77


The rising concern around the sustainability of petrochemicals are prompting searches for more environmentally friendly and inexpensive feedstocks. Bio-based alternatives are attractive, but also require microbial fermentation. Enzyme hydrolysis is a promising way to reduce the cost of the pretreatment process.

Invention Description

Researchers at the University of Toledo have developed a way to make bio-based products from microalgae. The feedstock is treated with protease and amylase which separates the biomass into an organic phase containing lipids and an aqueous phase containing solids, carbohydrates, and peptides. Further processing can produce desirable products, such as the platform chemical succinate.


  • Enzymatic hydrolysis for converting algae into monomeric sugars
  • Produces valuable chemicals, such as succinate and its derivatives 1,4-butanediol, ethylene diamine disuccinate, adipic acid


  • Cost effective and requiring less energy compared to mechanical disruption, thermolysis, microwave, or sonication
  • Release of lipids and the breakdown of polysaccharides into sugars can be done in a single step
  • Does not require drying algae, free cysteine, or acid digestion
  • Milder conditions compared to acid hydrolysis


IP Status:                    Issued US 10,752,924 and 11,104,920


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katherine Pollard
Licensing Associate
The University of Toledo
Sasidhar Varanasi
Sridhar Viamajala
Patricia Relue
Heng Shao
Agasteswar Vadlamani