Optimization of direct acid esterification process of soybean oil deodorizer distillate
Keywords:Deodorizer distillate, Esterification, Ethyl esters, Tocopherols
In this research work, the reaction conditions for the direct acid esterification of free fatty acid from soybean oil deodorizer distillate was optimized, using anhydrous ethyl alcohol and concentrated sulfuric acid as catalyst to determine the best process conditions to get the best conversion rates of free fatty acids to ethylic esters, preserving the tocopherols. The conversion extent of free fatty acids to ethyl esters was optimized using a Response Surface Methodology obtained through a second order factorial experimental design. The optima conditions for the direct acid esterification of soybean oil deodorizer distillate were: ethanol:free fatty acids from 6.4 to 11.2:1, H2SO4 concentration from 0.9 to 1.5 % and reaction time from 1.3 to 2.6 h, with conversions extent above 94 %. No significant tocopherol losses were observed during the process. Results showed a good fit between mathematical model and data obtained at different processing conditions, making this model predictive and statistically significant (p< 0,05).
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