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Microalgal oil has been a source for production of biofuels such as bio-oil and biodiesel. These two biofuels can be characterized quantitatively using advanced instrumentation techniques. Nile red fluorescence method, PAM fluorometry, NMR, GC/GC-MS, and FTIR are among the major techniques available for characterization and quantification of algal oil. NMR is a rapid and nondestructive analytical technique as it requires minimal sample preparation, and even one intact algal cell can be analyzed. It can also be used for continuous monitoring of cellular composition of algal culture. NMR can be used to monitor transesterification reaction and oxidation of lipids and biodiesel components. GC has remained the most widely used analytical technique for fatty acid profile analysis. GC-MS is a destructive analytical technique as derivatization of algal oil is required owing to its poor volatility and hence involves lengthy sample preparation procedure. FTIR is a relatively inexpensive technique and, like NMR, can analyze intact cells with scanning time of the order of seconds. FTIR may offer high signal-to-noise ratio and can also be used to monitor transesterification.



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