Enzymes Increase Oils' Healthfulness
MultOil, developed by Enzymotec (Migdal HaEmeq, Israel), retains desired key functional vegetable oil properties in food applications. Soy, olive, canola, corn, peanut, sunflower, cottonseed, palm and other popular oils can be processed with the company's patented Activation Modification Immobilization Enzyme Technology‚ (AMIET) to give them 25% phytosterol ester and 15% diglycerides (DAG). These compounds are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
According to Sobhi Basheer, Ph.D., developer of the process and company founder, AMIET enables a wide range of enzymes to perform in non-aqueous media, with high activity and recyclability, without losing their specificity or selectivity. Its uniqueness is due to its capability to match the right enzyme with a specific matrix to form a highly stable and active catalyst, which is applicable either in stirred vessels or fixed-bed reactors, he says. A dramatic cost reduction is achieved through single-step enzymatic reactions and the enzymes' recyclability.
"The presence of the sterol esters and DAG affect, to some extent, the viscosity of the final product," says Ariel Katz, Ph.D., CEO, Enzymotec. "The ability to cook or fry is not hindered from the formation of these two ingredients since they are as stable as the oil itself. Producers are able to increase the oil's viscosity from liquid to solid in such a way that the lipids function without contributing trans-fats to a food formulation. Food producers do not have to modify their production process when using MultOil,” says Katz. On the contrary, the high sterol-ester concentration and the company's ability to manipulate the viscosity level of the oil from liquid to solid, allows food processors greater flexibility in their operations, he says.
"The basic functionality of the oil itself is not changed," says Katz. However, the DAG portion of the oil has a different [metabolic] pathway; it immediately is burned as energy. The sterol esters perform as active cholesterol-lowering agents by blocking cholesterol's absorption into the body and also by an endogenous mechanism that prevents its release into the bloodstream.
An in vitro study conducted by Prof. M. Aviram, head of the Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine, Israel, indicated that MultOil has a unique synergistic health effect in reducing heart disease risk. It showed that olive-based MultOil is significantly more potent than a combination of olive oil and phytosterol esters in its ability to reduce macrophage peroxides content and macrophage superoxides release. The oxidation of macrophages is a critical step of the atherosclerotic plaque formation cascade.
FDA permits a labeling claim associating plant/sterol esters with cardiovascular disease if the component is present in specified amounts. (See www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/ds-ltr30.html.)
Enzymotec continues to develop innovative lipid ingredients through research in structured phospholipids, triglycerides and sterols.