Enzymatic esterification of lauric acid to give monolaurin in a microreactor

    • Shanshan Miao
    • Xin Li
    • College of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, P.R. China

    Monolaurin is a naturally occurring compound widely utilized in food and cosmetics. In this paper, we present a new method for the synthesis of monolaurin by esterification between lauric acid and glycerol catalyzed by Novozym® 435 using a microreactor. The conversion of lauric acid is 87.04% in 20min, compared with 70.54% via the batch approach in 5 h. Using an optimized solvent system consisting of t-BuOH/tert-amyl alcohol (1:1, v/v), the selectivity using the microreactor method is enhanced to 90.63% and the space–time yield of the process is 380.91 g/h/L. This newly devised method has the potential for application to other multiphase and enzymatic reactions.

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