Ngoc Lan Mai, Kihun Ahn, Sang Woo Bae, Dong Woo Shin, Vivek Kumar Morya and Yoon-Mo Koo
Sugar fatty acid esters are bio-surfactants known for their non-toxic, non-ionic, and high biodegradability . With great emulsifying and conditioning effects, sugar fatty acids are widely used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Biosynthesis of sugar fatty acid esters has attracted growing attention in recent decades. In this study, the enzymatic synthesis of sugar fatty acid esters in ionic liquids was developed, optimized, and scaled up. Reaction parameters affecting the conversion yield of lipase-catalyzed synthesis of glucose laurate from glucose and vinyl laurate (i.e. temperature, vinyl laurate/glucose molar ratio, and enzyme loads) were optimized by response surface methodology (RSM). In addition, production was scaled up to 2.5 L, and recycling of enzyme and ionic liquids was investigated. The results showed that under optimal reaction conditions (66.86oC, vinyl laurate/glucose molar ratio of 7.63, enzyme load of 73.33 g/L), an experimental conversion yield of 96.4% was obtained which is close to the optimal value predicted by RSM (97.16%). A similar conversion yield was maintained when the reaction was carried out at 2.5 L. Moreover, the enzymes and ionic liquids could be recycled and reused effectively for up to 10 cycles. The results indicate the feasibility of ionic liquids as novel solvents for the biosynthesis of sugar fatty acid esters.