Current trans fat replacement strategies provide food products with acceptable textural and sensory properties on a large scale, and at a reasonable price, but carry health and environmental burdens. Palm oil is used extensively because of its high solidity and functionality; however, increased production has led to deforestation throughout the world’s tropical regions. To reduce dependence on palm oil it is necessary to find a means of structuring a variety of readily available vegetable oils. Using cottonseed and peanut oils, among others, we show that enzymatic glycerolysis can structure liquid oils into solid fats through monoacylglycerol and diacylglycerol production from their native triacylglycerols without the addition of saturated or hydrogenated fat, thus not altering fatty acid composition. Solid fat contents of cottonseed and peanut oils were increased from 8% to 29% and 9% to 30% at 5 °C, respectively, and 21% and 10% at 20 °C, respectively. Additionally, oil-binding capacity was enhanced significantly. These novel oils were used to produce margarine and peanut butter with similar textural properties to commercial products and, importantly, represent a healthy and sustainable means to replace hydrogenated or saturated fats.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Data are available upon request from the authors and source data are provided with this paper.
Wang, F. C., Gravelle, A. J., Blake, A. I. & Marangoni, A. G. Novel trans fat replacement strategies. Curr. Opin. Food Sci. 7, 27–34 (2016).
Austin, K. G. et al. Shifting patterns of oil palm driven deforestation in Indonesia and implications for zero-deforestation commitments. Land Use Policy 69, 41–48 (2017).
The Recent Development of the Indonesian Palm Oil Industry (Indonesian Palm Oil Association, 2020); https://gapki.id/en/news/18397/the-recent-development-of-the-indonesian-palm-oil-industry
Palm Oil (Indonesia Investments, 2020); https://www.indonesia-investments.com/business/commodities/palm-oil/
Ramli, U. S. et al. Sustainable palm oil—the role of screening and advanced analytical techniques fro geographical traceability and authenticity verification. Molecules 25, 2927 (2020).
Global Oil Palm Plantations Have Larger Acreage than Other Vegetable Oil Plantations—Myths and Facts 2-02 (Indonesian Palm Oil Association, 2020); https://gapki.id/en/news/18597/global-oil-palm-plantations-have-larger-acreage-than-other-vegetable-oil-plantations-myths-facts-2-02
Coral Medina, J. D., Magalhaes, A. I., Zamora, H. D. & Quijano Melo, J. D. Oil palm cultivation and production in South America: status and perspectives. Biofuel. Bioprod. Biorefin. 13, 1202–1210 (2019).
8 Things to Know About Palm Oil (World Wildlife Fund for Nature, 2020); https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil
Meijaard, E., Abrams, J. F., Juffe-Bignoli, D., Voigt, M. & Shell, D. Coconut oil, conservation and the conscientious consumer. Current Biology 30, R737–R758 (2020).
Carlson, K. M. et al. Effect of oil palm sustainability certification on deforestation and fire in Indonesia. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 115, 121–126 (2018).
Kinsell, L. W. et al. Dietary modification of serum cholesterol and phospholipid levels. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 12, 909–913 (1952).
Ahrens, E. H. Jr., Blankenhorn, D. H. & Tsaltas, T. T. Effect on human serum lipids of substituting plant for animal fat in diet. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 86, 872–878 (1954).
Beveridge, J. M. R., Connell, W. F. & Mayer, G. A. Dietary factors affecting the level of plasma cholesterol in humans: the role of fat. Can. J. Biochem. Physiol. 34, 441–455 (1956).
Ahrens, E. H. Jr. et al. The influence of dietary fats on serum lipid levels in man. Lancet 1, 943–953 (1957).
Keys, A., Anderson, J. T. & Grande, F. Prediction of serum-cholesterol responses of man to changes in fats in the diet. Lancet 2, 959–966 (1957).
Hegsted, D. M., McGandy, R. B., Myers, M. L. & Stare, F. J. Quantitative effects of dietary fat on serum cholesterol in man. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 17, 281–295 (1965).
Keys, A., Anderson, J. T. & Grande, F. Serum cholesterol response to changes in the diet. IV. Particular fatty acids in the diet. Metabolism 14, 776–787 (1965).
Mensink, R. P., Zock, P. L., Kester, A. D. M. & Katan, M. B. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 77, 1146–1155 (2003).
Micha, R. & Mozaffarian, D. Saturated fat and cardiometabolic risk factors, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a fresh look at the evidence. Lipids 45, 893–905 (2010).
Mensink, R. P. Effects of Saturated Fatty acids on Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins: A Systematic Review and Regression Analysis (World Health Organization, 2016).
Nettleton, J. A., Brouwer, I. A., Geleijnse, J. M. & Hornstra, G. Saturated fat consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke: a science update. Ann. Nutr. Metab. 70, 26–33 (2017).
Rogers, M. A. Novel structuring strategies for unsaturated fats—meeting the zero-trans, zero-saturated fat challenge: a review. Food Res. Int. 42, 747–753 (2009).
Co, E. & Marangoni, A. G. Organogels:an alternative edible oil-structuring method. J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 89, 749–780 (2012).
Patel, A. R. & Dewettinck, K. Edible oil structuring: an overview and recent updates. Food Funct. 7, 20–29 (2016).
Belitz, H. D., Grosch, W. & Schieberle, P. Food Chemistry (Springer, 2009).
Yanai, H. et al. Diacylglycerol oil for the metabolic syndrome. Nutr. J. 6, 1–6 (2007).
Flickinger, B. D. & Matsuo, N. Nutritional characteristics of DAG oil. Lipids 38, 129–132 (2003).
Matsuo, N. Nutritional characteristics and health benefits of diacylglycerol in foods. Food Sci. Technol. Res. 10, 103–110 (2004).
Teramoto, T. et al. Significant effects of diacylglycerol on body fat and lipid metabolism in patients on hemodialysis. Clin. Nutr. 23, 1122–1126 (2004).
Lo, S. K., Tan, C. P., Long, K., Yusoff, M. S. A. & Lai, O. M. Diacylglycerol oil—properties, processes, and products: a review. Food Bioproc. Tech. 1, 223–233 (2008).
Code of Practice for the Reduction of 3-Monochloropropane-1,2-Diol Esters (3-MCPDEs) and Glycidyl Esters (GEs) in Refined Oils and Food Products Made with Refined Oils CXC 79-2019 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2019).
Chen, C. H. & Terentjev, E. M. Aging and metastability of monoglycerides in hydrophobic solutions. Langmuir 25, 6717–6724 (2009).
Malkin, T. & Riad el Shurbagy, M. An X-ray and thermal examination of the glycerides. Part II. The α-monoglycerides. J. Chem. Soc., 1628–1634 (1936).
Barret, R. Medicinal Chemistry: Fundamentals (Elsevier, 2018).
Firestone, D. Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Oils, Fats, and Waxes (AOCS Press, 2013).
We acknowledge the financial support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program, the Government of Ontario and the Barrett Foundation.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Raw experimental data used to generate Fig. 1.
Raw experimental data used to generate Fig. 2.
Raw experimental data used to generate Fig. 3.
Raw experimental data used to generate Fig. 4.
Raw experimental data used to generate Fig. 5.
Raw experimental data used to generate Fig. 6.
About this article
Cite this article
Nicholson, R.A., Marangoni, A.G. Enzymatic glycerolysis converts vegetable oils into structural fats with the potential to replace palm oil in food products. Nat Food 1, 684–692 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-00160-1