Enzymatic production of alkyl esters through alcoholysis: A critical evaluation of lipases and alcohols

Deng Li, Xuebing Xu, Haraldsson Gudmundur G, Fang Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This paper focuses on a detailed evaluation of commercially available immobilized lipases and simple monohydric alcohols for the production of alkyl esters from sunflower oil by enzymatic alcoholysis. Six lipases were tested with seven alcohols, including straight and branched-chain primary and secondary alcohols. The reactions were conducted in a batch stirred reaction vessel using stoichiometric amounts of substrates under solvent-free conditions. Dramatic differences in alcoholysis performance were observed among the different lipases. For most of the alcohols, Novozym 435 produced the highest yield of FA alkyl esters, with yields well over 90% for methanol, absolute ethanol, and 1-propanol. Overall, 96% ethanol was the preferred alcohol for all lipases except Novozym 435, and ethanolysis reactions reached the maximal conversion efficiency. Increasing the water content in the system resulted in an increased degree of conversion for all lipases except Novozym 435. The secondary alcohol 2-propanol significantly reduced the alcoholysis reaction with all lipases; however, the branch-chain isobutanol was more advantageous than linear 1-butanol for Novozym 435, Lipozyme RM IM, and Lipase PS-C. Many commercial immobilized lipases are highly efficient and promising for the production of alkyl esters, offering high reaction yields and a simple operation process.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of the american oil chemists society
    Pages (from-to)341-347
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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