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Enhancement of lipase catalyzed-fatty acid methyl esters production from waste activated bleaching earth by nullification of lipase inhibitors

Dwiarti, Lies, Ali, Ehsan, Park, Enoch Y.
Bioresource technology 2010 v.101 no.1 pp. 14-20
renewable energy sources, biomass, vegetable oil, biorefining, fatty acid esters, triacylglycerol lipase, enzyme inhibition, adsorbents, chlorophyll, plant pigments, transesterification, biodiesel, enzyme kinetics
This study sought to identify inhibitory factors of lipase catalyzed-fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) production from waste activated bleaching earth (wABE). During the vegetable oil refinery process, activated bleaching earth (ABE) is used for removing the impure compounds, but adsorbs vegetable oil up to 35-40% as on a weight basis, and then the wABE is discarded as waste material. The impurities were extracted from the wABE with methanol and evaluated by infra-red (IR) spectroscopy, which revealed that some were chlorophyll-plant pigments. The chlorophylls inhibited the lipase during FAME conversion from wABE. The inhibition by a mixture of chlorophyll a and b was found to be competitive. The inhibition of the enzymatic hydrolysis of waste vegetable oil contained in wABE by chlorophyll a alone was competitive, while the inhibition by chlorophyll b alone was non-competitive. Furthermore, the addition of a small amount of alkali nullified this inhibitory effect and accelerated the FAME production rate. When 0.9% KOH (w/w wABE) was added to the transesterification reaction with only 0.05% lipase (w/w wABE), the maximum FAME production rate improved 120-fold, as compared to that without the addition of KOH. The alkali-combined lipase significantly enhanced the FAME production rate from wABE, in spite of the presence of the plant pigments, and even when a lower amount of lipase was used as a catalyst.