Castor Oil: A Promising Source for the Production of Flavor and Fragrance Through Lipase-Mediated Biotransformation

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Contribution to Books

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Environmental Engineering: Waste Treatment in the Biotechnology, Agricultural and Food Industries: Volume 1


Castor (Ricinus communis; family: Euphorbiaceae) oil extracted from castor seed is a nonedible, nontoxic, yellowish color liquid that has become an essential bioresource material for industrial uses. The castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid; this is a key precursor of the production of lactones. The presence of a double bond and hydroxyl and carboxylic groups with a long hydrocarbon chain in ricinoleic acid proposes several possibilities for converting it into valuable compounds. γ-Decalactone is an aroma compound having peach-like essence, generally utilized in food industries. Lipase-mediated biotransformation is used to produce γ-decalactone from ricinoleic acid under controlled conditions. Several studies and industrial approaches have explained the genetic and metabolic engineering and bioprocess engineering strategies in the enrichment of aroma compounds, but few studies have been available on the utilization of castor oil as a natural raw material for the synthesis of aroma compounds. As a result, this review draws attention to the importance of castor oil in the production of value-added aroma compounds with their estimated global market prospective. The review gives information about the properties of castor oil and its geographical accessibility and its exploitation as a bio-based resource for the production of various value-added materials. In addition, this review emphasizes the utilization of ricinoleic acid or castor oil as a renewable source for the production of aroma compounds. Though chemical transformation for the production of lactone derivatives is known, the products are chiral mixtures. On the other hand, the lipase-based conversion is enantiospecific, and this product is categorized as nature-identical and considered safe for using in food products.