American Journal of Applied Sciences


Tjahjono Herawan and M. Rüsch Gen. Klaas

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2014.1212.1223

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 8

Pages 1212-1223


Lipase-catalyzed transesterifications-especially in a solvent-free medium-are important for industrial applications because such systems would have an enormous advantage by avoiding the problem of separation, toxicity and flammability of organic solvents. However, the organic solvent-free alcoholysis, especially methanolysis, does not give high conversions. The same problem also occurs when ethyl or methyl acetate are used as acyl acceptors. The main problems of lipase-catalyzed organic solvent-free alcoholysis are first, the solubility of the plant oil in the substrate or solvent and second, the fact that transesterification is an equilibrium reaction. Dialkyl carbonates, versatile compounds due to their chemical reactivity and physical properties, may provide an alternative to solve both problems. Using dialkyl carbonates transesterification is not an equilibrium reaction, because the intermediate compound immediately decomposes to carbon dioxide and an alcohol. Moreover, dialkyl carbonates (especially dimethyl carbonate) are cheap and widely available. For single step lipase-catalyzed transesterification of palm kernel oil, diakyl carbonates (in this case dimethyl and diethyl carbonate) gave better yields compared to those of short chain alcohols. The rate of ester formation with dialkyl carbonates as substrate was about 6-7 times higher than that obtained with short chain alcohols. The formation of esters was gradually increased by a higher enzyme amount from 5-20% (w/w of oil) for 8 h reaction time. However from the economic point of view, an enzyme amount of 10% on the weight base of oil was proposed for further reaction. Generally, the highest ester formation was observed when a temperature of 60°C was used. However, in the case of dimethyl carbonate little difference was observed at reaction temperatures of 60 and 70oC and the reactions proceeded nearly identically. The esters formation increased drastically up to more than 70% when water was added up to 0.2%. However, ester formation extremely decreased when more than 0.4% water was added. Formation of ester was lower when a hydrocarbon solvent was added to the system compared to that of when dialkyl carbonates were used as substrate and solvent. Candida antarctica in the immobilized was found to be effective for transesterifying palm ker nel oil with short-chain dialkyl carbonates with or without any added organic solvents.


© 2014 Tjahjono Herawan and M. Rüsch Gen. Klaas. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.