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1.  Enzymatic transesterification of palm stearin and olein blends to produce zero-trans margarine fat 
BMC Biotechnology  2012;12:48.
Food industries aim to replace trans fat in their products by formulations having equivalent functionality and economic viability. Enzymatic transesterification can be a technological option to produce trans free fats targeting commercial applications.
Palm stearin and palm olein blends in different ratios were enzymatically transesterified in a solvent free system using a Rhizopus oryzae lipase immobilised onto CaCO3 to produce a suitable fat for margarine formulation. Slip melting points and triacylglycerols profiles were evaluated upon transesterification. Results indicated that all transesterified blends had lower slip melting points than their non transesterified counterparts. Furthermore, the triacylglycerols profile showed a decrease in the concentration of the high melting point triacylglycerols. The rheological analysis showed that margarine prepared with the transesterified blend showed a better spreadability than that of a control margarine prepared with non transesterified fat. Adding powder of dry bark orange to margarine preparation improved its colour and fairly affected its spreadability and rheological behaviour. The margarine prepared with transesterified fat displayed a rheological behaviour that was comparable to that of commercial sample.
This study is an ecofriendly approach to the utilization of relatively low value bioresources like palm stearin and palm olein for making margarine free of trans fatty acids that are now implicated as risk factor for heart diseases.
PMCID: PMC3469396  PMID: 22889174
2.  Immobilized Rhizopus oryzae lipase catalyzed synthesis of palm stearin and cetyl alcohol wax esters: Optimization by Response Surface Methodology 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:68.
Waxes are esters of long-chain fatty acids and long-chain alcohols. Their principal natural sources are animals (sperm whale oil) and vegetables (jojoba) which are expensive and not easily available. Wax esters synthesized by enzymatic transesterification, using palm stearin as raw material, can be considered as an alternative to natural ones.
Palm stearin is a solid fraction obtained by fractionation of palm oil. Palm stearin was esterified with cetyl alcohol to produce a mixture of wax esters. A non-commercial immobilized lipase from Rhizopus oryzae was used as biocatalyst. Response surface methodology was employed to determine the effects of the temperature (30-50°C), the enzyme concentration (33.34-300 IU/mL), the alcohol/palm stearin molar ratio (3-7 mol/mol) and the substrate concentration (0.06-0.34 g/mL) on the conversion yield of palm stearin. Under optimal conditions (temperature, 30°C; enzyme concentration, 300 IU/mL; molar ratio 3 and substrate concentration 0.21 g/mL) a high conversion yield of 98.52% was reached within a reaction time of 2 h.
Response surface methodology was successfully applied to determine the optimum operational conditions for synthesis of palm stearin based wax esters. This study may provide useful tools to develop economical and efficient processes for the synthesis of wax esters.
PMCID: PMC3145570  PMID: 21682865
3.  Does minor histocompatibility antigen HA‐1 disparity affect the occurrence of graft‐versus‐host disease in tunisian recipients of hematopoietic stem cells? 
Clinics  2010;65(11):1099-1103.
Minor histocompatibility antigen HA‐1 (MiHAg‐HA‐1) disparity between a patient and his or her human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genoidentical donor has been widely associated with an increased risk of graft‐versus‐host disease following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
To examine the effect of HA‐1 disparity on the incidence of both acute and chronic graft‐versus‐host disease in Tunisian recipients of hematopoietic stem cells.
A total of 60 patients and their 60 respective sibling hematopoietic stem cell donors were enrolled in this study. All patients prophylactically received cyclosporine A and/or methotrexate for graft‐versus‐host disease. An HA‐1 genotyping assay was performed with the SSP‐PCR method, and HLA‐A*0201‐ and/or HLA‐A*0206‐positive samples were identified using the Luminex HLA typing method.
The Luminex HLA typing assay showed that 54 patients were positive for either the HLA‐A*0201 or HLA‐A*0206 alleles. Among these cases, six pairs were mismatched for MiHAg‐HA‐1. Both acute and chronic graft‐versus‐host disease occurred in four mismatched patients (Fisher's p‐values were 0.044 and 0.170, respectively). A univariate logistic regression model analysis showed that only acute graft‐versus‐host disease may be affected by recipient MiHAg‐HA‐1 disparity (p: 0.041, OR: 6.727), while chronic graft‐versus‐host disease correlates with both age and recipient/donor sex mismatch (p: 0.014, OR: 8.556 and p: 0.033, OR: 8.664, respectively).
Our findings support previously reported data suggesting a significant association between HA‐1 disparity and the risk of acute graft‐versus‐host disease following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
PMCID: PMC2999702  PMID: 21243279
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Graft‐versus‐host disease; Minor histocompatibility antigens; HA‐1; HLA‐A; Tunisian population

Results 1-3 (3)