Green processes based on the extraction with pressurized fluids to obtain potent antimicrobials from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the present work, the antimicrobial activity of different pressurized liquid extracts obtained from Haematococcus pluvialis microalga was tested against several microorganisms of importance for the food industry (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger). Extractions were performed with hexane and ethanol at four different temperatures (50, 100, 150 and 200 °C) for 20 min. The results showed that extracts obtained with both solvents (hexane and ethanol) from the green motile cells of the microalgae (green phase) presented a low antimicrobial activity against all the microorganisms tested. However, the antimicrobial activity of the extracts obtained from the red hematocysts without flagella (red phase) was totally different depending on the solvent used for the extraction. Hexane extracts showed an antimicrobial activity quite similar to that obtained with the green microalgae, while the antimicrobial activity of ethanol extracts was much higher. This fact seems to indicate that compounds related to antimicrobial activity of this microalga are found in higher quantities in the red phase of the microalgae and could be relatively polar compounds. Moreover, ethanol extracts from the red phase obtained at 100 °C presented the highest antimicrobial activity. In order to identify the compounds responsible for the antimicrobial activity, a GC-MS characterization of the extracts obtained with both hexane and ethanol at 100 °C, for Haematococcus pluvialis in the green and red phases was also performed. Therefore, the highest antimicrobial activity of the ethanol extract corresponding to red Haematococcus can be associated with the presence in this extract of short-chain fatty acids, which have been previously described to possess antimicrobial activity.


  • Susana Santoyo
  • I. Rodríguez-Meizoso
  • Alejandro Cifuentes
  • Laura Jaime
  • G. García-Blairsy Reina
  • Francisco Javier Señorans
  • Elena Ibáñez
External organisations
  • Autonomous University of Madrid
  • CSIC Instituto de Fermentaciones Industriales (IFI)
  • University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Research areas and keywords


  • Antimicrobial activity, Green phase, Haematococcus pluvialis, Microalgae, Pressurized liquid extraction, Red phase
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1218
Number of pages6
JournalLWT - Food Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Sep
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes