Amid growing concern that using soybeans and other food crops to produce biodiesel fuel will raise the price of food, the search for non-food sources of biodiesel has already identified a number of unlikely candidates. Rakesh Bajpai and colleagues, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, have now added alligator fat (AF) to the list of possible raw materials for the fuel.
Each year, the alligator meat industry disposes of about 15 million pounds of alligator fat in landfills. The team has shown that oil extracted from this can easily be converted into biodiesel due to its high lipid content. Microwave rendering resulted in AF oil recovery of 61 % by weight of the frozen AF tissue, with 30 % of the recovered fatty acids being saturated and 70 % unsaturated. The biodiesel produced from AF oil was found to meet the official standards for high quality biodiesel.
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