New eutectic ionic liquids for lipase activation and enzymatic preparation of biodiesel

Hua Zhao, Gary A. Baker, Shaletha Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


The enzymatic preparation of biodiesel has been hampered by the lack of suitable solvents with desirable properties such as high lipase compatibility, low cost, low viscosity, high biodegradability, and ease of product separation. Recent interest in using ionic liquids (ILs) as advanced reaction media has led to fast reaction rates and high yields in the enzymatic synthesis of biodiesel. However, conventional (i.e., cation-anion paired) ILs based on imidazolium and other quaternary ammonium salts remain too expensive for wide application at industrial scales. In this study, we report on newly-synthesized eutectic ILs derived from choline acetate or choline chloride coupled with biocompatible hydrogen-bond donors, such as glycerol. These eutectic solvents have favorable properties including low viscosity, high biodegradability, and excellent compatibility with Novozym ® 435, a commercial immobilized Candida antarctica lipase B. Furthermore, in a model biodiesel synthesis system, we demonstrate high reaction rates for the enzymatic transesterification of Miglyol ® oil 812 with methanol, catalyzed by Novozym ® 435 in choline acetate/glycerol (1:1.5 molar ratio). The high conversion (97%) of the triglyceride obtained within 3 h, under optimal conditions, suggests that these novel eutectic solvents warrant further exploration as potential media in the enzymatic production of biodiesel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1908-1916
Number of pages9
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 21 2011
Externally publishedYes


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