ISSN 0003-6838, Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology, 2017, Vol. 53, No. 8, pp. 807–813. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2017.
Original Russian Text © Ya.E. Sergeeva, E.B. Mostova, K.V. Gorin, A.V. Komova, I.A. Konova, V.M. Pojidaev, P.M. Gotovtsev, R.G. Vasilov, S.P. Sineoky, 2017, published
in Biotekhnologiya, 2017, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 53–61.
Calculation of Biodiesel Fuel Characteristics Based
on the Fatty Acid Composition of the Lipids
of Some Biotechnologically Important Microorganisms
Ya. E. Sergeeva
*, E. B. Mostova
, K. V. Gorin
, A. V. Komova
, I. A. Konova
, V. M. Pojidaev
P. M . G o t ov t s e v
, R. G. Vasilov
, and S. P. Sineoky
National Research Center Kurchatov Institute, Moscow, 123182 Russia
State Research Institute for Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms (GosNIIgenetika), Moscow, 117545 Russia
Received July 6, 2016; in final form, July 25, 2016
Abstract⎯The interdependences between the structure of fatty acid and biofuel characteristics obtained from
these fatty acids were briefly reviewed. The fatty acid compositions of the lipids of yeasts and phototrophic
microorganisms were analyzed. The main parameters of the biodiesel (iodine value, cetane number, and
kinematic viscosity) that can be made from the lipids of these microorganisms were calculated based on the
data and compared to the current standards. The lipids of the yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides VKPM Y-3349
were shown to be the most suitable for biofuel production due to the composition and content of fatty acid.
The possibilities of a decrease in the prime cost of microbial lipids (along with plant oils) that would make
them competitive raw material for biofuel production were considered.
Keywords: biodiesel, cetane number, cyanobacteria, fatty acids, iodine value, microalgae, biodiesel produc-
tion, phototrophic microorganisms, yeast
Biodiesel is a mixture of fatty acid monoalkyl
ethers (mainly methyl and ethyl) obtained via the
transesterification of renewable biological resources,
including vegetable and, more rarely, animal fats .
Along with traditional sources (vegetable oils) of bio-
diesel production, fish fat, as well as microbial lipids
(lipids of bacteria, microalgae, yeasts, and mycelial
fungi), are considered raw materials [2–4].
The main biodiesel characteristics are determined
by the composition and content of monoalkyl ethers of
fatty acids. Recent studies demonstrated that the
length and branching of the carbon chain, as well as
unsaturation (i.e., number of double bonds in the
molecule) of the fatty acid monoalkyl ether, are the
key factors affecting biodiesel properties [5–8].
Parameters such as cetane number and iodine
value, kinematic viscosity, and higher heat value are
used to characterize biodiesel fuel properties [9, 10].
Cetane number is the main indicator of the com-
bustibility of diesel fuel. The higher the cetane number
is, the higher is the fuel combustibility, the shorter is
the time interval between the start of injection and
ignition, and, consequently, the quieter and smoother
is the combustion of diesel fuel, which determines the
power and economic performance of the engine .
An increase in the unsaturation of the lipids results in
a decrease in the cetane number.
The cetane number of the fatty acid decreases if the
length of the carbon chain decrease and branching
increases. The cetane number of fatty acids esters is
affected by the nature, as well as length and branching,
of the carbon chain of the alcohols used for ester pro-
It should be noted that branched esters (isopropa-
nol derivatives) are of particular interest, because they
retain their properties at low temperatures . Never-
theless, the prime cost of these esters is high due to the
high prices for used alcohols and the complexity of
According to the literature data, the cetane number
of the fatty acid depends more on the unsaturation
than on its branching . Saturated fatty acids and
their esters (methyl and ethyl) are characterized by
high cetane numbers. For example, the cetane num-
bers of the methyl esters of myristic (C
), and stearic (C
) acids are 66.2, 74.5, and
86.9, respectively. The appearance of only one double
Abbreviations: GC—gas chromatography, FA—fatty acids, CL—
culture liquid, FAME—fatty acid methyl ester, PUFA—polyun-
saturated fatty acids, EDTA—Ethylenediaminetetraacetate
PRODUCERS, BIOLOGY, SELECTION,
AND GENE ENGINEERING