Background: Nowadays, as an alternative to the production of fuels and chemicals from the fossil platform, renewable feedstocks are widely investigated. For biomass conversion, a new generation of catalysts with specific characteristics such as high activity and selectivity, easy recovery and reusability is necessary. The design of highly efficient and stable heterogeneous catalysts represents a challenge in this field, mainly to overcome current energy and environmental issues. The combination of enzymatic and heterogeneous inorganic catalysis generates an unprecedented platform that combines the advantages of both. Among the techniques for producing solid catalysts, enzymatic mineralization with an organic silicic precursor to obtain hybrid biocatalysts (biosilicification) is highlighted. This technique can provide exceptional stability to the biocatalyst in drastic conditions of use.
Results: Then, under these criteria, this work presents the one-step synthesis of a solid enzymatic catalyst, denominated Low Ordered Biosilicified Enzyme (LOBE) due to their structural properties. Pseudomonas Fluorescens lipase forms aggregates that are contained in the heart of a silicon-covered micelle, providing active sites with the ability to process different raw materials (commercial sunflower and soybean oil, Jatropha excisa oil, waste frying oil, residual soybeans, and pork fat) to produce first and second generation biodiesel. Obtaining yields between 81 and 93% by weight depending on the used raw material.
Conclusions: Therefore, refined, non-edible and residual oils (with high water and free fatty acid contents) can be transformed into biodiesel through LOBE catalysts with commercial ethanol as co-substrate.