Submitted to: Inform
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2005
Publication Date: 1/1/2006
Citation: Foglia, T.A. 2006. Processing of fats and oils into value-added products. Inform. 17(1):14-15. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The modification of fats and oils and their co-products for added value is a major theme of lipid research. Biotechnological processes often are favored for their mild reaction conditions and low environmental impact; they sometimes are the only practical routes to desired products. Nevertheless, economics may favor conventional chemical approaches. Enzymatic processes yield products of hydrolysis, esterification, and oxygenation. For example, lipases allow for the isolation of nutritionally or industrially important fatty acids and the production of structured triglycerides for use as nutraceuticals or low-calorie fats. Lipases also allow for the conversion of a mixture of glycerides and free fatty acids, such as are found in restaurant grease, to simple esters for use as biofuels or biobased lubricants. Non-enzymatic processes also are important routes in the production of the latter products. Fermentation of fats and oils produces polymers and surfactants, such as medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA; biodegradable polyesters) and sophorolipids (alkyl polyglucoside-type surfactants). Commercial adoption of enzymatic processes requires fast, thorough conversions and enzyme recycling via immobilization. Fermentative processes demand good product yield and facile means of isolating the desired products.