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Sonication and grinding pre-treatments on Gelidium amansii seaweed for the extraction and characterization of Agarose

Chew, Kit Wayne, Show, Pau Loke, Yap, Yee Jiun, Juan, Joon Ching, Phang, Siew Moi, Ling, Tau Chuan, Chang, Jo-Shu
Frontiers of environmental science & engineering 2018 v.12 no.4 pp. 2
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Gelidium, agar, agarose, boiling point, gel strength, grinding, macroalgae, melting, neutralization, physicochemical properties, polyethylene glycol, sonication, sulfates
Various pretreatments methods including sonication and grinding were performed on red seaweed Gelidium amansii for the subsequent extraction of agarose. The agarose products are usually extracted from agar powder products from seaweeds. In this study, the agarose was extracted using a direct polyethylene glycol (PEG) method without the need to first process the agar from seaweed. The agar extract was frozen then thawed and mixed directly with PEG solution to precipitate the agarose. The quality of agarose obtained was evaluated through physico-chemical properties analysis which includes spectral technique (FTIR), melting and boiling point, gel strength and sulfate content. These properties were compared with a non-pretreated sample and it was found that the addition of pretreatment steps improved the quality of agarose but gave a slightly lower yield. The gel strength of pretreated samples was much higher and the sulfate content was lower compared to non-pretreated samples. The best pretreatment method was sonication which gave gel strength of 742 g cm⁻² and sulfate content of 0.63%. The extraction of agarose can be further improved with the use of different neutralizing agents. Pretreating the seaweed shows potential in improving the quality of agarose from seaweed and can be applied for future extraction of the agarose.