Enzymatic production of monoacylglycerols containing polyunsaturated fatty acids through an efficient glycerolysis system

Tiankui Yang, Morten Rebsdorf, Ulrik Engelrud, Xuebing Xu

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The aim of the study was to develop an efficient glycerolysis system for the enzymatic production of monoacylglycerols (MAGs) containing polyunsaturated fatty acids. Glycerolysis has been widely applied in industry for the chemical production of food MAGs under high temperature. The enzymatic glycerolysis system at 40-70 °C is unfortunately a multiphase system, which leads to the lower reaction efficiency. A tert-butyl alcohol system was developed after careful evaluation and more than 20-fold of the reaction efficiency from this system was obtained compared to the solvent-free system. Novozym 435 was employed as a catalyst in the glycerolysis from the screening. In the batch reaction system with tert-butyl alcohol, temperature higher than 40 °C was favored. The glycerol/oil ratio was best in the study with 4.5 while the solvent weight ratio from 1 to 3 had little effect. In general, 60- 70% yield can be obtained at 2 h in the stirred tank reactor. The continuous glycerolysis was conducted in a packed bed reactor. MAG yield up to 70% was reached at 30-40 min residence time. The continuous glycerolysis was more sensitive to the amount of tert-butyl alcohol, and in the weight ratio to oil more than 2 was favored. The continuous process was optimized with the assistance of response surface methodology. Optimal conditions for the packed bed reactor after all considerations were recommended as glycerol/oil 4:1 (mol/mol), temperature 40 °C, and residence time 45 min. The operation stability study showed that there was no slight reduction of reaction performance at more than 30 days, implying a high feasibility in practical applications.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
    Pages (from-to)1475-1481
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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