Methods for removing contaminants from algal oil are provided. In an embodiment, a method comprises the steps of combining a sulfuric acid-aqueous solution that has a pH of about 1 or less with a contaminant-containing algal oil at treatment conditions effective to form an effluent. The effluent comprises a treated algal oil phase and contaminants in an acidic aqueous phase. The contaminants comprise metals, phosphorus, or combinations thereof The acidic aqueous phase is removed from the effluent to form a contaminant-depleted algal oil.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under DE-EE0003046 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.