FTIR transmission spectroscopy for measurement of algae neutral lipids

Talal Yasir Al-Shikaili, J. Alex Thomasson, Yufeng Ge, Louis Brown, Jola Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Algae lipids can be used to produce biofuels and are considered a potential source of energy to supplant fossil fuel. Cultivation practices of algae grown in large ponds can be tailored to maximize lipid content. Laboratory methods of measuring lipid content are time-consuming and labor-intensive, so a real-time measuring technique is needed to efficiently control the addition of pond nutrients. The objective of this research was to determine the effectiveness of measuring algae lipid content with Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) transmission spectroscopy. Six algae samples (Nannochloropsis salina) with varying lipid contents were centrifuged and then dried in an oven at 40°C for 12 hours. Dried algae were mixed with potassium bromide (KBr) powder at a mass ratio of 1:150 (algae: KBr) and pressed into pellets. A Thermo-Nicolet 6700 FTIR spectrometer was used to collect spectral data in transmission mode. Three relevant absorption bands centered at 2920, 2855, and 1742 cm-1 were identified. A linear regression analysis showed that the band depth at 2920 cm-1 was strongly correlated (R2 = 0.92) with lipid content measured by gas chromatography (GC). The results of this research provide insight into the development of a real-time lipid-content sensor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalAgricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 24 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • ATR spectroscopy
  • FTIR spectroscopy
  • KBr pellets
  • Mid-infrared spectroscopy
  • biofuels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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