Clay/chitosan composite beads were prepared and used as the carrier to support lipase by adsorption, to improve the activity and stability of lipase in the hydrolysis of olive oil. Under conditions of pH 6.0, 25 °C and adsorption for 10 h, immobilized lipases on chitosan bead (CB–lipase) and three clay/chitosan composite beads, at different clay to chitosan proportions of 1:8 (CCB-8-lipase), 1:5 (CCB-5-lipase) and 1:3 (CCB-3-lipase), were prepared. By comparing the activity of these immobilized lipases, CCB-5-lipase showed the highest activity, followed by CCB-8-lipase > CCB-3-lipase > CB-lipase; this improvement was attributed to the synergetic effect of enrichment of olive oil by clay at the reaction surface and better biocompatibility of chitosan with lipase molecules. The optimum pH and temperature in the reaction respectively changed from 7.0 and 30 °C for free lipase to 7.5 and 35 °C for immobilized forms. Furthermore, the thermal stability and repeated usability of these immobilized lipases were sequenced as CCB-3-lipase > CCB-5-lipase > CCB-8-lipase > CB–lipase, due to greater rigidity of immobilized lipase with the addition of clay, which was further confirmed by SEM. The study shows that the incorporation of clay with chitosan creates a good synergetic effect to improve the catalytic performance of immobilized lipase on clay/chitosan composite.
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