Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society

, Volume 89, Issue 9, pp 1633–1645 | Cite as

Concentration of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) by Selective Alcoholysis Catalyzed by Lipases

  • L. Martín Valverde
  • P. A. González Moreno
  • A. Rodríguez Quevedo
  • E. Hita Peña
  • M. J. Jiménez Callejón
  • L. Esteban Cerdán
  • E. Molina Grima
  • A. Robles MedinaEmail author
Original Paper


The aim of this work was to obtain acylglycerols from tuna oil (23 % weight DHA) rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) by selective ethanolysis, catalyzed by lipases. First, seven immobilized lipases were tested and the best DHA concentration and recovery in the acylglycerol fraction were attained with Lipozyme TL IM® from Thermomyces lanuginosus, Lipozyme RM IM from Rhizomucor miehei, and lipase from Thermomyces lanuginosus immobilized on Immobead 150. As it is the cheapest, Lipozyme TL IM® was selected to optimize the reaction conditions. The influence of temperature, reaction time, and ethanol/oil and lipase/oil ratios were studied. Under the optimized conditions (35 °C, ethanol/oil molar ratio 2.3, lipase/oil ratio 5 % weight and 48 h) and for a 56 % conversion, acylglycerols were obtained with a 45 % DHA concentration and 90 % recovery. In these optimized conditions the reaction was scaled up to 766 g of tuna oil and carried out in a batch stirred tank reactor, with the lipase contained in a cartridge filter attached to the stirring rod. The results were similar to those obtained on the smaller scale. The DHA-enriched acylglycerols were separated from the ethyl esters by evaporation of the latter in a short-path vacuum distiller, where the influence of distillation temperature was studied. At 170 °C DHA-rich acylglycerols (44 % DHA) were recovered in the residue with 94.5 % purity and 72 % recovery.


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Lipase Acylglycerols Lipozyme TL IM Short-path distillation 



This research was supported by grants from the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spain), Project CTQ2007-64079. This project was co-funded by the FEDER (European Fund for Regional Development).


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Martín Valverde
    • 1
  • P. A. González Moreno
    • 1
  • A. Rodríguez Quevedo
    • 1
  • E. Hita Peña
    • 1
  • M. J. Jiménez Callejón
    • 1
  • L. Esteban Cerdán
    • 1
  • E. Molina Grima
    • 1
  • A. Robles Medina
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain
  2. 2.Chemical Engineering DepartmentAlmería UniversityAlmeríaSpain

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