Enzymatic Synthesis of Sugar and Polyol-fatty Acid Esters: Surfactants, Polymers, and Other Value-added Products
Hayes, D. G.  2016.  107th AOCS Annual Meeting and Expo, Salt Lake City, 05 May 2016 (keynote presentation; Phospholipids Division).  (invited)

Applied biocatalysis in nonaqueous media has come a long way since its inception in the 1980s, when I conducted my PhD Dissertation project in this new and emerging area. Bioconversions using immobililzed enzymes are commonly employed today, particularly in the custom design of lipids, to take advantage of the high selectivity of biocatalysts and to increase the “greenness” of manufacturing: near-ambient operating conditions, lower downstream purification costs and waste generation, among other advantages. In this presentation, I will provide a review of the lipase-catalyzed synthesis of sugar-fatty acid esters, important biodegradable and biocompatible surfactants commonly used as emulsifiers (which also possess high bioactivity). The reaction is challenging to implement due to the diverse polarities (hence poor miscibility) of the starting materials. The review will include topics such as solvent selection (including the use of ionic liquids as novel versatile solvents), or alternatively, solvent-free conditions, water activity control, bioreactor design, and selection and/or derivatization of the starting materials, and will feature research work from my lab and from other groups.