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Open Access Research

Solvent-free enzymatic synthesis of 1, 3-Diacylglycerols by direct esterification of glycerol with saturated fatty acids

Nanjing Zhong1, Zhongyu Gui2, Li Xu13, Jianrong Huang1, Kun Hu1, Yongqing Gao1, Xia Zhang2*, Zhenbo Xu24*, Jianyu Su2 and Bing Li2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Food Science, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Zhongshan, China

2 College of Light Industry and Food Science, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China

3 School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Zhongshan, China

4 Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Dental School, University of Maryland-Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 21201, USA

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2013, 12:65  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-65

Published: 8 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Pure 1, 3-diacylglycerols (1, 3-DAG) have been considered to be significant surfactants in food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the effect on obesity prevention.

Methods

In this study, a vacuum-driven air bubbling operation mode was developed and evaluated for the enzymatic synthesis of 1, 3-DAG of saturated fatty acids, by direct esterification of glycerol with fatty acids in a solvent-free system. The employed vacuum-driven air bubbling operation mode was comparable to vacuum-driven N2 bubbling protocol, in terms of lauric acid conversion and 1, 3-dilaurin content.

Results

Some operation parameters were optimized, and 95.3% of lauric acid conversion and 80.3% of 1, 3-dilaurin content was obtained after 3-h reaction at 50°C, with 5 wt% of Lipozyme RM IM (based on reactants) amount. Of the lipases studied, both Lipozyme RM IM and Novozym 435 exhibited good performance in terms of lauric acid conversion. Lipozyme TL IM, however, showed low activity. Lipozyme RM IM showed good operational stability in this operation protocol, 80.2% of the original catalytic activity remained after 10 consecutive batch applications. Some other 1, 3-DAG were prepared and high content was obtained after purification: 98.5% for 1, 3-dicaprylin, 99.2% for 1, 3-dicaprin, 99.1% for 1, 3-dilaurin, 99.5 for 1, 3-dipalmitin and 99.4% for 1, 3-disterin.

Conclusion

The established vacuum-driven air bubbling operation protocol had been demonstrated to be a simple-operating, cost-effective, application practical and efficient methodology for 1, 3-DAG preparation.

Keywords:
1, 3-diacylglycerol; Air-bubbling; Enzyme; Synthesis