Journal of biotechnology

Biodiesel production from triolein and short chain alcohols through biocatalysis.

PMID 15950307


Oleic acid alkyl esters (biodiesel) were synthesised by biocatalysis in solvent-free conditions. Different commercial immobilised lipases, namely Candida antarctica B, Rizhomucor miehei, and Pseudomonas cepacia, were tested towards the reaction between triolein and butanol to produce butyl oleate. Pseudomonas cepacia lipase resulted to be the most active enzyme reaching 100% of conversion after 6h. Different operative conditions such as reaction temperature, water activity, and reagent stoichiometric ratio were investigated and optimised. These conditions were then used to investigate the effect of linear and branched short chain alcohols. Methanol and 2-butanol were the worst alcohols: the former, probably, due to its low miscibility with the oil and the latter because secondary alcohols usually are less reactive than primary alcohols. Conversely, linear and branched primary alcohols with short alkyl chains (C(2)--C(4)) showed high reaction rate and conversion. A mixture of linear and branched short chain alcohols that mimics the residual of ethanol distillation (fusel oil) was successfully used for oleic acid ester synthesis. These compounds are important in biodiesel mixtures since they improve low temperature properties.

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Fusel oil, natural, FG