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Sugar fatty acid esters are nonionic biosurfactants widely used in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Ionic liquids (ILs) have shown great potential as an alternative reaction medium to conventional organic solvents for their enzymatic synthesis, promoting a significant enhancement in sugar solubility, enzymatic reactivity and regioselectivity. In this perspective, we summarize the advances in the use of ILs as a solvent for sugar dissolution and lipase-catalyzed sugar ester synthesis, review the recent achievements in designing enzyme-compatible ILs for the synthesis, and discuss the challenges that the research on this topic is facing. Among the advanced ILs, deep eutectic solvents (DESs) merit a serious consideration as a potential reaction medium for this application.
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Catalysis Science & Technology
- Information Point