Selective Synthesis of Monolaurin: A Preliminary Investigation

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Monolaurin (ML) is a monoacylglycerol (MAG) with important industrial and biomedical properties. It is commonly prepared in large quantities from the direct esterification of lauric acid (LA) and glycerol with chemical catalysts. However, this method also generates other glyceride by-products whose properties are inferior to ML. Enzymes have also been used to optimize selectivity, but enhancing scalability and throughput is always challenging. Successful selective convergent chemical synthesis of ML involving activated derivatives of LA and glycerol is demonstrated in this study. The present yield of 3.41% can be improved with careful process control.