High resolution FT-ICR mass spectral analysis of bio-oil and residual water soluble organics produced by hydrothermal liquefaction of the marine microalga Nannochloropsis salina

Nilusha Sudasinghe, Barry Dungan, Peter Lammers, Karl Albrecht, Doug Elliott, Rich Hallen, Tanner Schaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

114 Scopus citations


We report a detailed compositional characterization of a bio-crude oil and aqueous by-product from hydrothermal liquefaction of Nannochloropsis salina by direct infusion Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) in both positive- and negative-ionization modes. The FT-ICR MS instrumentation approach facilitates direct assignment of elemental composition to >7000 resolved mass spectral peaks and three-dimensional mass spectral images for individual heteroatom classes highlight compositional diversity of the two samples and provide a baseline description of these materials. Aromatic nitrogen compounds and free fatty acids are predominant species observed in both the bio-oil and aqueous fraction. Residual organic compounds present in the aqueous fraction show distributions that are slightly lower in both molecular ring and/or double bond value and carbon number relative to those found in the bio-oil, albeit with a high degree of commonality between the two compositions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Biofuel
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction
  • Microalgae
  • Nannochloropsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry

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