Lipase catalyzed esterification of caprylic acid with residual glycerol from biodiesel production

Author : Sara Anunciacao Braga Guebara, Maria ClŠudia Este de Araķjo, Juliana Neves Rodrigues Ract, Michele Vitolo

On an industrial scale, diacylglycerols and triacylglycerols are traditionally obtained either by extraction or transesterification/ inter-esterification of oils and fats. However, the esterification of glycerol with fatty acids using soluble or insoluble lipases as catalyst represents an alternative, with the advantage of milder reaction conditions when compared to traditional processes. Nowadays, the main reagents for enzyme catalyzed esterification reactions are plentiful and inexpensive. Acylglycerols and fatty acids with chain length shorter than ten carbon atoms, such as monocaprylin, besides their inherent surfactant properties, also present an antimicrobial activity, which enables their use as food preservatives or pharmaceutical/cosmetic ingredients. This paper proposes the use of residual glycerol from biodiesel manufacture as a starting material in esterification reactions with caprylic acid for the synthesis of acylglycerols using immobilized lipase as catalyst. In this context, environmentally friendly synthesis of such high-added value derivatives using biocatalysts are associated with a currently important waste recovery. Additionally, a concise approach of important aspects of glycerol, caprylic acid, lipases, caprylins as a target product, as well as alternative ways to produce them, are presented in this paper and analytical methodology for the reaction monitoring is proposed. These products have widely application in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries.

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