Lipase-Catalyzed Acyl Exchange of Soybean Phosphatidylcholine in n-Hexane: A Critical Evaluation of Both Acyl Incorporation and Product Recovery



Lipase-catalyzed acidolysis was examined for the production of structured phospholipids in a hexane system. In a practical operation of the reaction system, the formation of lyso-phospholipids from hydrolysis is often a serious problem, as demonstrated from previous studies. A clear elucidation of the issue and optimization of the system are essential for the practical applications in reality. The effects of enzyme dosage, reaction temperature, solvent amount, reaction time, and substrate ratio were optimized in terms of the acyl incorporation, which led to the products, and lyso-phospholipids formed by hydrolysis, which led to the low yields. The biocatalyst used was the commercial immobilized lipase Lipozyme TL IM and substrates used were phosphatidylcholine (PC) from soybean and caprylic acid. A response surface design was used to evaluate the influence of selected parameters and their relationships on the incorporation of caprylic acid and the corresponding recovery of PC. Incorporation of fatty acids increased with increasing enzyme dosage, reaction temperature, solvent amount, reaction time, and substrate ratio. Enzyme dosage had the most significant effect on the incorporation, followed by reaction time, reaction temperature, solvent amount, and substrate ratio. However the parameters had also a negative influence on the PC recovery. Solvent amount had the most negative effect on recovery, followed by enzyme dosage, temperature, and reaction time. Individually substrate ratio had no significant effect on the PC recovery. Interactions were observed between different parameters. On the basis of the models, the reaction was optimized for the maximum incorporation and maximum PC recovery. With all of the considerations, the optimal conditions are recommended as enzyme dosage 29%, reaction time 50 h, temperature 54 °C, substrate ratio 15 mol/mol caprylic acid/PC, and 5 mL of hexane per 3 g substrate. No additional water is necessary. Under these conditions, an incorporation of caprylic acid up to 46% and recovery of PC up to 60% can be obtained from the prediction. The prediction was confirmed from the verification experiments.