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Bioresour Technol. 2003 Mar;87(1):63-8.

Microwave esterification of sunflower proteins in solvent-free conditions.

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Laboratoire de Chimie Agro-industrielle, UMR 1010 INRA/INP-ENSIACET, 118, route de Narbonne, F-31077 Toulouse 04, France.


The esterification of storage proteins from sunflower seeds renders these molecules more hydrophobic and increases internal plasticization, facilitating their use in the fabrication of materials by thermo-mechanical processes. The reaction was carried out in solvent-free conditions to simplify the process and to reduce costs. Optimization of esterification by the classical method, heating in a thermostat-regulated oil bath, resulted in 84% esterification for a reaction time of 4 h (amount of catalyst = 3.9 meq 5 N HCl/g protein, T = 90 degrees C). Microwave heating was then used to reduce the reaction time and the hydrolysis of protein chains. A similar level of esterification (89%) was obtained in 18 min (amount of catalyst = 3.4 meq 5 N HCl/g protein, microwave power (P) = 560 W). High yields were obtained with this method, demonstrating that this process limited hydrolysis.

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