Grasas y Aceites, Vol 69, No 3 (2018)

Cis-trans isomerization of unsaturated fatty acids in edible oils to prepare trans fat

W. Liu
Lipid Chemistry, College of Food Science and Technology, Henan University of Technology, China

G. H. Lu
Lipid Chemistry, College of Food Science and Technology, Henan University of Technology, China


Trans fats, unsaturated fatty acids with at least one double bond in the trans configuration, have received a great amount of attention in the field of oleo chemistry and safety. In this work, the cis-trans isomerization of unsaturated fatty acids in edible oils has been successfully developed using simple and cheap p-toluenesulfinic acid as catalyst. The effects of reaction time, temperature, catalyst loading, and the amounts of water and antioxidants on the cis-trans isomerization have been systematically investigated. The results indicate that the amount of water (0–20 wt %) and antioxidants (0–200 mg/kg) had no significant effect on this cis-trans isomerization of unsaturated fatty acids in edible oils. The final products (trans fats) from the cis-trans isomerization reaction were characterized by both GC and React IR. The yield of trans double bonds from the isomerized fat can reach 79.6% after heating at 100 oC for 90 min without changing either the location of the double bonds or the degree of unsaturation. In addition, this convenient method has been applied to various vegetable oils (e.g., olive oil, camellia seed oil, corn oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil) and nearly 80.0% yields of TFA were generated, which shows a promising method to provide trans-fat products for research related to oleo and food chemistry.


cis-trans Isomerization; Edible fat; p-Toluenesulfinic acid; trans Fats; trans Fatty acids

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