unsaturated fatty acids
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22 June 2020

Let them be unsaturated

If your food has to contain fat, it should at least contain as many unsaturated fatty acids as possible. Biocatalysts, a member of the BRAIN Group, has launched an enzyme that can be used to enrich unsaturated fatty acids in oils.

We live warm and comfortable lives in our well-insulated houses, work in offices at pleasant temperatures, don’t get much exercise but still like to eat plenty. Our energy requirements are a far cry from those of our ancestors, who had to brave the cold and do much harder physical work than we do. And even if a day of concentrated thinking also consumes energy and we are hungry at the end of a long working day, our energy requirements are normally relatively low.

Consider quantity and quality

Above all, we need and should consume less high-energy fat (triglycerides from glycerol and three fatty acids), because too much fat has a negative effect on health. The "nutritional conscience of the Germans", the German Nutrition Society, recommends that young people and adults who do not have an increased energy requirement should only obtain 30% of their energy from fat.

But the quality of oils and lipids also plays an important role: "good-quality" fat can help to prevent obesity and the diet-related diseases diabetes mellitus type 2, fat metabolism disorders, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. And what does good-quality fat mean? The fatty acids contained in the fats should be polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids should be reduced. Since the human body cannot produce all the fatty acids it needs, vegetable foods with natural unsaturated fatty acids or industrially produced foods with unsaturated fatty acids are part of the solution.

Today, the food industry produces foods in which (unhealthy) saturated fatty acids are replaced by omega-3 fatty acids, for example, or whose fats are biochemically optimized and the foods are thus enriched with healthy fatty acids. Enzymes also play a role in optimizing fats.

Robust and versatile enzyme

The name says it all: enzymes with the brand name "Lipomod" modify lipids, i.e. fats and oils. With Lipomod™ 767P, BRAIN group member Biocatalysts Ltd. recently has launched a robust and versatile enzyme derived from microorganisms that is intended for the food industry.

What can the enzyme do? On the one hand it can hydrolyze (chemically break down) oils and fats. Many other lipases can do this as well, but Lipomod767P is particularly flexible because it hydrolyzes short-, medium- and long-chain fatty acids at all three positions of the triglyceride backbone. According to Biocatalysts, this makes the enzyme interesting for food producers who want to produce oils from fish, algae and oilseeds that are enriched with polyunsaturated (healthy) fatty acids.

Fatty acids rearranged

In addition to the hydrolysis of oils and fats, the binding of fatty acids to glycerol (esterification) plays a key role in the production of healthy oils:

lipases, which are capable of esterification, rearrange the fatty acids on the glycerol molecule in new positions so that optimized "functional lipids" are formed. These improve the nutritional profiles of the foods they are used in. Lipomod767P is a particularly adaptable lipase that can be used under suitable conditions for such esterification of oils and fats. What form does this adaptability take? The enzyme maintains its regio-, stereo- and enantioselectivity to natural and artificial substrates - both in aqueous and organic solutions.

For more information about Biocatalysts' clean-label products for the food industry, go to: www.biocatalysts.com

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