Production of margarine fats by enzymatic interesterification with silica-granulated Thermomyces lanuginosa lipase in a large-scale study

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Interesterification of a blend of palm stearin and coconut oil (75∶25, w/w), catalyzed by an immobilized Thermomyces lanuginosa lipase by silica granulation, Lipozyme TL IM, was studied for production of margarine fats in a 1- or 300-kg pilot-scale batch-stirred tank reactor. Parameters and reusability were investigated. The comparison was carried out between enzymatic and chemical interesterified products. Experimentally, Lipozyme TL IM had similar activity to Lipozyme IM for the interesterification of the blend. Within the range of 55–80°C, temperature had little influence on the degree of interesterification for 6-h reaction, but it had slight impact on the content of free fatty acids (FFA). Drying of Lipozyme TL IM from water content 6 to 3% did not affect its activity, whereas it greatly reduced FFA and diacylglycerol contents in the products. Lipozyme TL IM was stable in the 1-kg scale reactor at least for 11 batches and the 300-kg pilot-scale reactor at least for nine batches. Due to regiospecificity of the lipase (sn-1,3 specific), enzymatically interesterified products had different fatty acid distribution at sn-2 position from the chemically randomized products, implying the potential nutritional benefits of the new technology.