Enzymatic esterification of free fatty acids in vegetable oils utilizing different immobilized lipases


Different immobilized lipases were screened for their ability to esterify free fatty acids (FFA) with monoacylglycerol (MAG) as acyl-group acceptor. A lipase from Rhizomucor miehei (Lipozyme RMIM) was the most suitable for lipase-catalyzed de-acidification—a promising alternative to conventional neutralization. A reduction of the FFA content to 0.6 % (w/w) was achieved by applying a substrate with an initial FFA-content of 6 % (w/w), the reaction at 50 °C for 22 h as well as the stepwise addition of a quadruple stoichiometric amount of MAG.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3



Acid number

M(KOH) :

Molar mass of KOH

c(KOH) :

Concentration of KOH solution

V(KOH) :

Volume KOH solution applied during titration

m(oil) :

Mass of the oil sample

M(FFA) :

Average molecular weight of the free fatty acids (with regard to the fatty acid composition of rapeseed oil)

ρ(oil) :

Density of rapeseed oil


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The present work was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in line with a cooperation program “Programme Inter Carnot Fraunhofer (PICF 2010)”.

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Correspondence to Daniela von der Haar.

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von der Haar, D., Stäbler, A., Wichmann, R. et al. Enzymatic esterification of free fatty acids in vegetable oils utilizing different immobilized lipases. Biotechnol Lett 37, 169–174 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10529-014-1668-1

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  • Enzymatic de-acidification
  • Esterification
  • Free fatty acids
  • Lipase
  • Oil refining
  • Rapeseed oil refining