Sol-Gel Immobilisation of Lipases: Towards Active and Stable Biocatalysts for the Esterification of Valeric Acid
Balu, Alina M.
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Alkyl esters are high added value products useful in a wide range of industrial sectors. A methodology based on a simple sol-gel approach (biosilicification) is herein proposed to encapsulate enzymes in order to design highly active and stable biocatalysts. Their performance was assessed through the optimization of valeric acid esterification evaluating the effect of different parameters (biocatalyst load, presence of water, reaction temperature and stirring rate) in different alcoholic media, and comparing two different methodologies: conventional heating and microwave irradiation. Ethyl valerate yields were in the 80–85% range under optimum conditions (15 min, 12% m/v biocatalyst, molar ratio 1:2 of valeric acid to alcohol). Comparatively, the biocatalysts were slightly deactivated under microwave irradiation due to enzyme denaturalisation. Biocatalyst reuse was attempted to prove that good reusability of these sol-gel immobilised enzymes could be achieved under conventional heating.