Comprehensive biorefinery of invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) into multiple high-value biomolecules

Yi Zhang, Paola Sully, Lea Spitzer, Pierre Dutilleul, Benjamin K. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is an invasive species globally and is considered marine waste that needs to be eliminated. In this study, the green crab was biorefined via a clean enzymes-assisted bioprocess into multiple value-added bioproducts, i.e., crab oil, minerals, carotenoprotein, and chitin. The recovered crab oil was rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as EPA and DHA as per GC-MS analysis. Citric acid, as a replacement for conventional hash acids, was found to optimally demineralize the crab powder at 1 M and 4 °C for 18 h, where the recovered crab minerals identified using ICP-MS showed a high level of calcium, in form of nutritious calcium citrate. Crab carotenoprotein recovered using trypsin exhibited antioxidant properties. It contained 139.26 μg/g of carotenoids pigment, mainly astaxanthin and astaxanthin diester, as verified by thin layer chromatography, and the protein component in the carotenoprotein was rich in essential amino acids such as leucine via UPLC-MS. The produced crab chitin from papain-assisted deproteinization showed characteristic physicochemical properties following FTIR and XRD analysis. These biomolecules biorefined from the green crab possess wide applications in food, pharmaceutical, biomaterials, etc. This new biorefinery strategy enhances the sustainability for biowaste utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134052
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Nov 10 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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