This research shows that carbon dioxide supercritical fluid (CO₂-SF) is an emerging technology for the extraction of high interest compounds for applications in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and cosmetics from microalgae. The purpose of this study is to recover fatty acids (FAs) and, more precisely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from Nannochloropsis gaditana biomass by CO₂-SF extraction. In the paper, the effect of mechanical pre-treatment was evaluated with the aim of increasing FAs recovery. Extraction was performed at a pressure range of 250⁻550 bars and a CO₂ flow rate of 7.24 and 14.48 g/min, while temperature was fixed at 50 or 65 °C. The effect of these parameters on the extraction yield was assessed at each extraction cycle, 20 min each, for a total extraction time of 100 min. Furthermore, the effect of biomass loading on EPA recovery was evaluated. The highest EPA extraction yield, i.e., 11.50 mg/g, corresponding to 27.4% EPA recovery, was obtained at 65 °C and 250 bars with a CO₂ flow rate of 7.24 g/min and 1.0 g biomass loading. The increased CO₂ flow rate from 7.24 to 14.48 g/min enhanced the cumulative EPA recovery at 250 bars. The purity of EPA could be improved by biomass loading of 2.01 g, even if recovery was reduced.
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