Implementing an in situ alkaline transesterification method for canola biodiesel quality screening

Darrin M. Haagenson, Rachel L. Brudvik, Hongjian Lin, Dennis P. Wiesenborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Increasing demand for canola (Brassica napus) as an edible oil crop and biodiesel (B100) feedstock has encouraged genetic development for increased oil yields and expanded acreage in the US Northern Plains. Crop production environment and plant genetics influence metabolism and fatty acid composition, but the influence of this interaction on the resulting fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) is not clearly understood. The objective of this study was to develop a canola in situ transesterification (TE) method for facilitating the identification of genetic, abiotic or biotic factors impacting B100 quality, and to evaluate FAME quality properties from conventional TE (degummed oil) and in situ TE methods. In situ reactions containing 40 g canola flour conducted for 6 h at 60 °C with a 275:1:1.05 M ratio of methanol:triacylglycerol (TAG):KOH provided 80% conversion of seed lipid to FAME. Replicated reactions provided sufficient FAME volume for measuring several ASTM D6751-09 standards including cloud point, kinematic viscosity, acid value, moisture content, oxidative stability, and total glycerin, but adjustments are necessary to provide sufficient volumes for routine analysis of cold soak filtration test. The established in situ protocol would permit weekly analysis of 40 samples and the in situ TE method provides an opportunity to evaluate the impact of genetic or environmental factors on B100 quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1351-1358
Number of pages8
JournalJAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors are thankful for research support from the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and the North Dakota Center of Excellence for Oilseed Development. Mukhles Rahman (NDSU Plant Science) and Eric Mack (ADM, Velva ND) kindly provided canola samples. The GC analysis provided by Leonard Cook, (USDA-ARS, Fargo, ND), and the laboratory analysis conducted by NDSU undergraduate research assistant, Mukesh Kumar, are gratefully acknowledged.


  • ASTM D6751
  • Biodiesel
  • Canola
  • Cold flow properties
  • FAME
  • In situ transesterification


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