Author's Name: Gabriela Caldas Steinstrasser, Michele Vitolo and Luiz Antonio Gioielli
Subject Area: Life Sciences
Subject Biotechnology
Section Research Paper


Monocaprylin, dicaprylin, tricaprylin, caprylins manufacturing, medium chain glycerides.


Caprylins are esters of glycerol and caprylic acid that find applications in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields. They have low melting points (10oC – 30oC), high boiling points (233oC – 395oC), octanol-water partitioning coefficient (Log P) higher than 1.9, being insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents such as n-hexane and chloroform. Several studies indicate a positive role played by caprylins on the human metabolism – as an alternative to long chain fatty acid lipids- due their low accumulation in adipose tissue, easy intracellular oxidation and high formation of ketone bodies. Therefore, they may be useful for patients that present neurological disorders and/or dietary requirements. Monocaprylin and dicaprylin are considered GRAS emulsifiers (Generally Recognized as Safe) by FDA, being largely applied on foods with no major concerns. They also can act as antimicrobial agents for food conservation purposes. There are several manufacturing processes applicable to caprylins, including the direct esterification of glycerol and caprylic acid catalyzed by immobilized lipase, method that has been receiving special attention during the last two decades. Caprylins can be identified and/or quantified through several analytical techniques (including titration by sodium hydroxide, gas and liquid chromatography coupled to a variety of detection methods, thin layer chromatography and differential scanning calorimetry Despite the existing information on caprylins, the amount of scientific material available about these compounds is much lower than the observed on the long chain glycerides. The development of more efficient manufacturing methods, lowering the production costs and increasing market availability, plays a key role for encouraging further research on clinical, pharmaceutical and technological applications.

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