Among 10 lipases tested, Candida rugosa lipase exhibited the best ability to catalyze the resolution of dl-menthol in organic solvent. The lipase was immobilized on different carriers, and the experiment was carried out with different acyl donors. The high yield and optical purity of the product were achieved in cyclohexane with valeric acid as acyl donor using C. rugosa lipase immobilized on DEAE-Sephadex A-25. The conversion of dl-menthol depended on the water content of immobilized lipase and on the Ph of the aqueous solution from which lipase was immobilized. The operational stability of the DEAE-Sephadex A-25 immobilized lipase in catalysis of the esterification reaction showed that >85% activity remained after 34 days of repeated use. The resolution of racemic menthol in organic medium catalyzed by immobilized C. rugosa lipase-catalyzed esterification is very convenient, and it represents a significant improvement in the use of enzyme for the preparative production of optically active 'menthol. This process is readily applicable to large-scale preparation.
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