Particular attention has been paid to phytosterols and their derivatives (phytosteryl esters) because of their health benefits in humans, especially their capability to lower serum cholesterol levels. However, there are only few reports on phytosteryl phenolates. In this study, phytosteryl cinnamate was successfully synthesized via a two-step chemoenzymatic route. The intermediate vinyl cinnamate was first chemically produced and subsequently esterified. Five commercial lipases were tested and the lipase from Candida antarctica was the most active one. Furthermore, 20 solvents were screened with regard to the conversion rate and the highest yield was achieved in a binary organic solvent system consisting of hexane and 2-butanone at a ratio of 8:2. A high conversion yield was obtained at 65°C, a phytosterol to cinnamic acid ratio of 1:1, and an enzyme concentration of 300 U.
Keywords: Phytosterol; Cinnamic acid; Lipase; Phytosteryl cinnamate