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Bioresour Technol. 2007 Feb;98(3):648-53. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

Enzymatic production of biodiesel from cotton seed oil using t-butanol as a solvent.

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Instituto de Investigaciones para la Industria QuĂ­mica (INIQUI, CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Salta, Buenos Aires 177, 4400 Salta, Argentina.


The enzymatic production of biodiesel by methanolysis of cottonseed oil was studied using immobilized Candida antarctica lipase as catalyst in t-butanol solvent. Methyl ester production and triacylglycerol disappearance were followed by HPLC chromatography. It was found, using a batch system, that enzyme inhibition caused by undissolved methanol was eliminated by adding t-butanol to the reaction medium, which also gave a noticeable increase of reaction rate and ester yield. The effect of t-butanol, methanol concentration and temperature on this system was determined. A methanolysis yield of 97% was observed after 24h at 50 degrees C with a reaction mixture containing 32.5% t-butanol, 13.5% methanol, 54% oil and 0.017 g enzyme (g oil)(-1). With the same mixture, a 95% ester yield was obtained using a one step fixed bed continuous reactor with a flow rate of 9.6 mlh(-1) (g enzyme)(-1). Experiments with the continuous reactor over 500 h did not show any appreciable decrease in ester yields.

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