Kroth, Peter G.

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Peter G.
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Synthetic polyester from algae oil

2014-06-23, Roesle, Philipp, Stempfle, Florian, Hess, Sandra K., Zimmerer, Julia, Bártulos, Carolina Río, Lepetit, Bernard, Eckert, Angelika, Kroth, Peter G., Mecking, Stefan

Current efforts to technically use microalgae focus on the generation of fuels with a molecular structure identical to crude oil based products. Here we suggest a different approach for the utilization of algae by translating the unique molecular structures of algae oil fatty acids into higher value chemical intermediates and materials. A crude extract from a microalga, the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, was obtained as a multicomponent mixture containing amongst others unsaturated fatty acid (16:1, 18:1, and 20:5) phosphocholine triglycerides. Exposure of this crude algae oil to CO and methanol with the known catalyst precursor [{1,2-(tBu2PCH2)2C6H4}Pd(OTf)](OTf) resulted in isomerization/methoxycarbonylation of the unsaturated fatty acids into a mixture of linear 1,17- and 1,19-diesters in high purity (>99 %). Polycondensation with a mixture of the corresponding diols yielded a novel mixed polyester-17/19.17/19 with an advantageously high melting and crystallization temperature.