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Biotechnol Lett. 2007 Dec;29(12):1881-5. Epub 2007 Jul 19.

Ionic liquids as a reaction medium for lipase-catalyzed methanolysis of sunflower oil.

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  • 1Lipid Science and Technology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad, 500 007, India.


Ionic liquids, 1-butyl-3-methyl imidazolium hexafluorophosphate ([BMIm][PF(6)]) and 1-ethyl-3-methyl imidazolium hexafluorophosphate ([EMIm][PF(6)]), were used for the methanolysis of sunflower oil using Candida antarctica lipase (Novozyme 435) and gave yields of fatty acid methyl esters at 98-99% within 10 h. The optimum conditions of methanolysis in hydrophobic ionic liquids are 2% (w/w) lipase, 1:1 (w/w) oil/ionic liquid and 1:8 (mol/mol) oil/methanol at 58-60 degrees C. Methanolysis using hydrophilic ionic liquids, 3-methyl imidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([HMIm][BF(4)]) and 1-butyl-3-methyl imidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([BMIm][BF(4)]), gave very poor yields. A hydrophobic ionic liquid thus protects the lipase from methanol. Recovered ionic liquids and lipase were used for four successive reaction cycles without any significant loss of activity.

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