Preparation of sucrose esters by interesterification
Reactions between sucrose and esters of long chain fatty acids customarily have been conducted in a mutual solvent, such as dimethylformamide. The solvent-free interesterification of molten sucrose and fatty acid esters at temperatures between 170–187 C has now been performed with the aid of lithium, sodium and potassium soaps as catalysts and solubilizers. When the reactants were heated rapidly and then subjected to reduced pressure, the interesterifications could be brought to equilibrium in 12 min or less, including the time necessary to melt the sucrose. The several soaps and combinations of soaps employed differed markedly in their performance. No sucrose esters were obtained with lithium palmitate, while the yield with lithium oleate was among the best, but consisted of over 90% tetra- and higher esters of sucrose. Lower esters were best produced with combinations of lithium oleate with sodium or potassium oleate employed at a level of about 25% total soaps, based on the weight of sucrose. The type of fatty acid ester employed also markedly affected the yield of sucrose esters. Among the esters tested, methyl carbitol palmitate (which could be formed in situ), monopalmitin, distearin and technical grade diglycerides (48% diglycerides) prepared from completely hydrogenated cottonseed oil, interesterified readily.
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