SYNTHESIS OF LINOLEIC CONJUGATED ACID BY ALKALI ISOMERIZATION USING PROPYLENE GLYCOL AS SOLVENT
Methods of selective production of cis-9, trans-11- and trans-10, cis-12- isomers of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) are of big interest due to the biological properties that have been reported for such compounds. Moreover, they naturally exist mainly in fats from ruminants at very low concentration. In this work, the chemical synthesis of CLA by alkali isomerization of linoleic acid contained in safflower oil was investigated, by modifying an actual industrial process in order to improve the concentration of the CLA isomers of interest, and make the product good for human consumption. Here, propylene glycol was used as solvent instead of ethylene glycol (a toxic solvent). The change in solvent resulted in a low conversion, as response, catalyst (NaOH) concentration and reaction time had to be adjusted in order to maximize the CLA production. The optimal conditions found here were: 7% NaOH in propylene glycol, and a reaction time of 2.15 h. Under such set of conditions a conversion of linoleic acid to CLA of 97.65% was reached, where 96% of total CLA consisted of the isomers of interest.
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