Application Insight | Cocoa Butter Analogues

For a long time, cocoa butter has been the fat of choice in the chocolate and confectionary industries. However price rises, uncertainty in supply, variable quality and increasing shortages highlight that a cost-effective alternative is essential.

Numerous vegetables oils such as palm oil are now widely used in the food industry as cocoa butter equivalents (CBE). These alternatives, however, do not have the same physical properties as cocoa butter and are not readily available in a semi-solid form. Palm oil TAGs are high in palmitate, giving a melting point of 23°C, making it an oil at room temperature. Cocoa butter fat is a higher value product because the TAGs are high in stearates which gives a melting point of 37°C, making it semi-solid at room temperature. In order to achieve this desired characteristic, the oil must undergo interesterification using an immobilized lipase. Compared to chemical interesterification, enzymatic interesterification of food oils and fats offers better control of the final product composition. The use of selective lipases is also beneficial for the elimination of hydrogenated trans fats that are a serious health concern.

The lipases are immobilized via adsorptive immobilization. Adsorption is a physical process that is used to immobilize enzymes by a weak binding to the carrier surface. This is important to ensure the enzyme retains its activity.

One of the main advantages of adsorption for enzyme immobilizations is that typically no additional reagents are required. It is a gentle method that causes little to no conformational change to the enzyme, leaving its active centre unaffected. Other benefits include high porosity, good mechanical stability and they are easily dried after immobilization.

This information below has been taken from 'Industrial Applications of Immobilized Enzymes - A Review' by Dr. Alessandra Basso and Dr. Simona Serban.

(Click to enlarge)

Figure. Manufacture of cocoa butter analogues by transesterification catalyzed by 1,3 selective immobilized lipase from Rhizomucor miehei (RM) in water free system. In the example a vegetable oil (from sunflower or palm oil) is reacted with stearic acid using immobilized lipase RM or TL and the final product is a mixture of triglycerides containing predominantly stearic acid in the positions 1 and 3.
 

The use of immobilized enzymes in industrial applications in the food industry has demonstrated a number of benefits in fat and oil processes:

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Allow non-existent specialty compounds to be produced

  • Catalyze reactions at relatively low temperatures, thus saving energy

Purolite Healthcare & Life Sciences currently offers two products for use in these types of applications, ECR1090M and ECR8806M from the Lifetech™ range.

Product Information

ECR1090M

A highly porous styrene/DVB copolymer with no functional groups

Applications:

  • Enzyme immobilization via adsorption
  • Lipase immobilization
Features:
  • High mechanical stability
  • High porosity
  • Easily dried after immobilization
  • High hydrophobicity
Systems:
  • Suitable for batch and column configuration
  • Optimal for use in organic solvent/water free systems
Regulatory approvals:
  • ResAP (2004) 3 status (food grade)
  • Halal
  • Kosher
  • TSE/BSE/GMO free
  • Compliant with FDA regulation 21 CFR 173.65
Packaging:
  • 50g
  • 250g
  • 1kg

ECR8806M

A medium porosity, methacrylic polymer functionalized with octadecyl groups

Applications:

  • Enzyme immobilization via adsorption
  • Lipase immobilization
  • Transaminase immobilization
Features:
  • High lipase CalB activity
  • Medium porosity
  • Easily dried after immobilization
Systems:
  • Suitable for batch and column configuration
  • Optimal for use in organic solvent/water free systems
Regulatory approvals:
  • ResAP (2004) 3 status (food grade)
  • Halal
  • Kosher
  • TSE/BSE/GMO free
Packaging:
  • 50g
  • 250g
  • 1kg