Production of monoacylglycerols (MAGs) rich in ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) was conducted through short path distillation (SPD) of an acylglycerol mixture (containing 67% MAGs) produced by enzymatic glycerolysis of sardine oil with glycerol. A stepwise SPD process in a UIC KDL 5 system (vacuum 10−3 mbar, feeding flow 1.0 mL/min) was proceeded: the first distillation performed at evaporator temperature (TE) of 110 °C to remove glycerol completely and most of FFAs; and the second distillation at optimized TE 155 °C; resulting in a stream distillate with 91% purity and 94% overall recovery of MAGs. This work also demonstrated that SPD is able to concentrate n-3 PUFAs in MAG form by distilling at proper TE e.g. 125 °C, where n-3 PUFAs are concentrated in the residues. Moreover, this work mapped out a complete processing diagram for scalable production of n-3 PUFAs enriched MAGs as potential food emulsifier and ingredient.
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