Ferulic acid esters have been suggested as a group of natural chemicals that have the function of sunscreen. The study aimed to utilize an environmentally-friendly enzymatic method through the esterification of ferulic acid with octanol, producing octyl ferulate. The Box-Behnken experimental design for response surface methodology (RSM) was performed to determine the synthesis effects of variables, including enzyme amount (1000–2000 propyl laurate units (PLU)), reaction temperature (70–90 °C), and stir speed (50–150 rpm) on the molar conversion of octyl ferulate. According to the joint test, both the enzyme amount and reaction temperature had great impacts on the molar conversion. An RSM-developed second-order polynomial equation further showed a data-fitting ability. Using ridge max analysis, the optimal parameters of the biocatalyzed reaction were: 72 h reaction time, 92.2 °C reaction temperature, 1831 PLU enzyme amount, and 92.4 rpm stir speed, respectively. Finally, the molar conversion of octyl ferulate under optimum conditions was verified to be 93.2 ± 1.5%. In conclusion, it has been suggested that a high yield of octyl ferulate should be synthesized under elevated temperature conditions with a commercial immobilized lipase. Our findings could broaden the utilization of the lipase and provide a biocatalytic approach, instead of the chemical method, for ferulic acid ester synthesis.
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