News Release

Greener and feasible production: Enzymatic methods for mono- and diacylglycerol synthesis in the food industry

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Henan University of Technology

Graphic abstract.


Graphic abstract.

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Credit: The authors

MAGs, predominantly in 1(3)-MAG form, and DAGs, with 1,3-DAGs as the more stable isomer, are crucial in food, cosmetic, and other industries. While MAGs are vital emulsifiers, comprising 75% of global production, DAGs are known as functional cooking oils that can reduce body fat and serum TAGs. However, their natural concentration in oils is low, prompting extensive research into their chemical and environmentally-friendly enzymatic production.
Recently, a review published in the Grain & Oil Science and Technology journal on 2 November 2023, has shed light on the advancements in enzymatic production methods with special efforts on practical and industrial technologies such as comprehensive discussions on system designs and patent evaluations. This study presents these methods as a sustainable and efficient alternative to conventional chemical processes, emphasizing their role in revolutionizing industry standards.
This review presents an in-depth review of the last 15 years in enzymatic production of monoacylglycerols (MAGs) and diacylglycerols (DAGs), focusing on the advancements and varied pathways like esterification, glycerolysis, and more. It emphasizes how enzyme choice, substrates, and conditions affect the efficiency and quality of MAGs and DAGs, highlighting the role of reaction media in enhancing reaction homogeneity and product yield. The review also explores the practicalities of scaling enzymatic processes for industrial use, discussing the challenges of maintaining enzyme activity and the economic implications of enzyme use. Additionally, it evaluates numerous patents, reflecting a growing interest in this eco-friendly technology. The review underlines the transformative potential of enzymatic production in delivering higher quality, more sustainable MAGs and DAGs while acknowledging the ongoing challenges and the need for further innovation in this field.
The review's lead authors, Jiawei Zheng and colleagues, underscore the industry's increasing shift towards enzymatic processes over the past two decades. They note, "Enzymatic methods are not just alternatives but are becoming the standard due to their specificity, lower energy requirements, and ability to preserve sensitive components."
Transitioning to enzymatic production has vast implications for the food industry, offering safer and more sustainable emulsifiers and cooking oils. The ability to control reaction specifics leads to higher quality products, meeting consumer demands for healthier and more natural food ingredients. From the discussion of the practical considerations of technologies and potential possibilities, the reasonable economy for the production in plants can be expected.
The review anticipates further industry adoption and innovation in enzyme technologies. However, it also calls for continued research to overcome challenges like reaction efficiency and large-scale application, ensuring that enzymatic methods can fully meet global demand.
Funding information

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (31772000).
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About Grain & Oil Science and Technology
Grain & Oil Science and Technology (GOST, is a peer-reviewed Open Access (OA) journal and upon acceptance all articles are permanently and freely available on ScienceDirect. GOST publishes innovative papers in the fields of grain engineering (processing and storage of staple food grain and cereals), food science and engineering (food chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, nutrition, food safety), oil science and engineering (processing and storage of oils and fats, oil chemistry for food use). Contributions written in English in the form of critical reviews, research papers, short communications, short reviews are welcomed.

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