Lipase-catalysed changes in essential oils revealed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography

Michelle S.S. Amaral, Milton T.W. Hearn, Philip J. Marriott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Candida antarctica lipase A (CALA) was applied for the chemo-selective enzymatic transesterification of terpene and phenyl alcohols in 35 different essential oil samples. Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC×GC‒MS) analysis enabled the separation and tentative identification of a cohort of 125 compounds, allowing the instant visualisation of the reaction process changes, amid the complex chemical background of the samples. The results indicate that 42 out of 79 alcohols so-identified were fully or partially esterified within 48 h of reaction, with primary alcohols being the substrates of preference of the enzyme (90–100% conversion), followed by secondary alcohols (mostly ~ 80–100% conversion). No significant conversion of tertiary alcohols and phenols was observed using the tested conditions. Overall, the enzyme’s performance was consistent for primary alcohol substrates identified in multiple samples of different compositions. The observed selectivity, efficiency, robustness, scalability (enzyme/substrate working concentration ratio > 1:160), potential reusability, mild reaction conditions, and other factors make this process a greener and more sustainable alternative for industry applications, particularly for the manufacture of novel flavours and fragrances. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3189–3199
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2023


  • Biocatalysis
  • Enzymes
  • Esterification
  • GC×GC‒MS
  • Natural products

Cite this