Published on 21 Mar 2022

Using microalgae to produce an alternative to palm oil

Director of NTU’s Food Science and Technology (FST) Programme Professor William Chen and FST Research Fellow Dr Ng Kuan Rei, presenting the microalgae oil, as well as a sample of microalgae that has been washed, dried, and treated with methanol.

NTU Singapore scientists have developed a method to effectively produce and extract plant-based oils from a type of common microalgae.

As the oils produced from the microalgae are edible and have superior properties as those found in palm oil, the newly discovered method would serve as a healthier and greener alternative to palm oil.

Compared to palm oil, the oil derived from the microalgae contains more polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in blood and lower a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke. The microalgae-produced oil also contains fewer saturated fatty acids, which have been linked to stroke and related conditions.

The algae oil innovation presents a possible alternative to the cultivation of palm trees for oil. It also reflects NTU's commitment to mitigating our impact on the environment, which is one of four humanity’s grand challenges that the University seeks to address through its NTU 2025 strategic plan.

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