Lipase-catalyzed esterification of lactic acid with straight-chain alcohols

Torben Harald Rønne, Xuebing Xu, Tianwei Tan

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    Enzymatic synthesis of esters of lactic acid and straight-chain alcohols with different chain lengths (C6–C18) were investigated in batch reactions with hexadecanol (C16) as the model alcohol. Cyclohexane was the best solvent for higher ester yields, and the best biocatalyst was the immobilized Candida antarctica lipase B (Novozym 435) as well as the textile-immobilized Candida sp. lipase. A method was established to obtain ester yields in the range of 71 to 82% for the different alcohols, and the most favorable conditions for the esterification reaction using Novozym 435 were an equimolar ratio of lactic acid to alcohol, each at a concentration of 120 mM each; a 50°C reaction temperature; 190 rpm shaking speed; and the addition of 100 mg molecular sieves (4 Å) for drying. The ester yield increased with increasing lipase load, and a yield of 79.2% could be obtained after 24 h of reaction at 20 wt% of Novozym 435. The immobilized Candida sp. lipase prepared in the laboratory also could be used to produce esters of lactic acid and straight-chain alcohols, but it had a much lower activity than Novozym 435 with a temperature optimum of 40°C.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of the american oil chemists society
    Issue number12
    Pages (from-to)881–885
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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