Submitted to: Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/8/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Fats and oils were once the primary sources of aliphatic carbon compounds used by industry. With the availability of inexpensive petroleum feedstocks, the consumption of these commodities has declined for most industrial applications. In addition, the economics have been exacerbated because of the large increase in world production of fats and oils without a similar increase in consumption. Moreover, health-related concerns continue to erode domestic and foreign market demand for edible fats and oils, especially animal fats. Despite their ready availability and competitive price the domestic non-food use of fats and oils continues to decline in almost all applications. To reverse these trends, our laboratory is evaluating the application of biocatalysis and biomimicry (chemical reactions that mimic enzyme reactions) to fats and oils with the goal of expanding current uses and identifying new uses of fats and oils in nhigher-value industrial applications. Particular areas of research in which we have developed expertise and continue to explore and develop include lipase reactions for fat and oil modification, biocatalytic oxygenation of fatty acids; biodiesel and biofuel additives, and biodegradable polymers.