Artificial cells, blood substitutes, and immobilization biotechnology

Studies on the kinetics of Isopropyl Palmitate synthesis in packed bed bioreactor using immobilized lipase.

PMID 10595438


The objective of this research was to study the kinetics of synthesis of a commercially important ester - Isopropyl Palmitate (IPP) using immobilized lipase (Lipozyme IM). It was studied in a packed bed differential reactor. In order to establish the kinetics of the reaction, parameters such as linear velocity of the fluid through the reactor, particle size, substrate concentration, substrate molar ratio, temperature and water activity were studied. Operational and storage stability of the enzyme were also assessed. The reaction followed Michaelis-Menton kinetics as observed from the relationship of initial rate of the reaction as a function of substrate concentration. It was found that the optimum substrate concentration was 0.15M palmitic acid and isopropyl alcohol in 1:1 stoichiometric ratio. Inhibition by excess of isopropyl alcohol has been identified. The optimum temperature for the esterification reaction was found to be around 50 degrees C. The activation energy of this process was determined to be 43.67 kJ/mol. The optimum water content was 0.50%. The reaction rates were measured in the absence of any significant external diffusional limitations. Since internal diffusional limitations could not be eliminated, the kinetics observed is only apparent.