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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: BIOCATALYTIC FUNCTIONALIZATION OF PLANT LIPIDS

Location: Renewable Product Technology Research Unit

Project Number: 3620-41000-144-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 16, 2009
End Date: Aug 09, 2010

Objective:
To demonstrate the technical feasibility of using isolated enzymes in nonaqueous media to functionally modify vegetable oils on a scale suitable for commercial deployment. Optimize a pilot-scale system for non-aqueous enzymatic transformation of soybean oil to high value products with novel functional groups and properties, such as feruloylated monoacyl- and diacylglycerides, for food and non-food applications. Create a flexible, durable and environmentally benign platform technology for the bioelectrocatalytic transformation of plant triglycerides and phospholipids to higher-value products.

Approach:
Processes for producing modified plant lipids with novel and valuable functional properties are essential for developing new markets for commodity vegetable oils. Furthermore, these processes and products should have minimal adverse impact on the environment and pose no threat to plant operators and the surrounding community. It is the premise of this proposal that using isolated enzymes in selected nonaqueous media can meet these design goals. Two distinctly different approaches are considered. One approach, for enzymes not having complex cofactor requirements, employs soybean oil as a solvent as well as a reactant, while the other approach, for enzymes having more substantial structural and cofactor needs, places the enzyme in a highly structured environ and specifically tailored media. In the first approach, synthesis of a patented product is examined to optimize reaction variables for pre-commercial production. The second approach addresses several fundamental issues regarding ex vivo use of membrane-associated enzymes for the bioelectrocatalytic transformation of phospholipids and triglycerides. Taken together, new knowledge will be gained and useful processes will be developed that can deliver value-added vegetable oil derivatives for consumers and industry.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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