New standard will help determine the amount of lipids in algae

Lipids are a class of natural organic substances characterized by a very low water solubility, a high organic solvent solubility and a high carbon and hydrogen content. They can be used, for example, to produce biofuels. In Europe, there is growing interest in algae and algae-based products or intermediates as they are a valuable source of many nutrients, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and pigments. They can be used in a variety of sectors, including food, textiles, cosmetics, or biofuel.

A new CEN standard, EN 17908:2023 ‘Algae and algae products – Methods of sampling and analysis – Determination of total lipids content using the Ryckebosch-Foubert method’, specifies a laboratory method for determining the total lipid content in micro- and macroalgae.


In particular, this new standard describes the Ryckebosch-Foubert method. This method makes use of an extraction protocol with an equal ratio of chloroform and methanol as a solvent. The methods that are normally used lead to an underestimation of the total amount of lipids. However, using the Ryckebosch-Foubert method produced good results. This led to the development of the standard to describe a protocol for its use.


EN 17908:2023 is important because it creates consensus on how to determine the total lipid content of algae. This should lead to a more realistic declaration of the amount of lipids present in algae.


EN 17908:2023 was developed by CEN/TC 454 ‘Algae and algae products’, whose Secretariat is held by NEN, the Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute. This Technical Committee’s work enhances the supply chain's dependability, leading to a boost in consumer and industry confidence in algae, including macro- and microalgae, cyanobacteria, Labyrinthulomycetes, and algae-based products or intermediates.


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