Optimization of solvent-free enzymatic esterification in eutectic substrate reaction mixture

M. Pätzold, A. Weimer, A. Liese, D. Holtmann

The Candida rugosa lipase catalyzed esterification of (-)-menthol and lauric acid (LA) was studied in a eutectic mixture formed by both substrates((-)-menthol:LA 3:1, mol/mol). No additional reaction solvent was necessary, since the (-)-menthol:LA deep eutectic solvent (DES) acts as combined reaction medium and substrate pool. Therefore, the esterification is conducted under solvent-free conditions. The thermodynamic water activity (aw) was identified as a key parameter affecting the esterification performance in the (-)-menthol:LA DES. A response surface methodology was applied to optimize the esterification conditions in terms aw, amount of C. rugosa lipase (mCRL) and reaction temperature. Under the optimized reaction conditions (aw = 0.55; mCRL =60 mg; T =45 °C), a conversion of 95 ± 1% LA was achieved (one day), the final (-)-menthyl lauric acid ester concentration reached 1.36 ± 0.04 M (2.25 days). The experimental product formation rate agreed very well with the model prediction.

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