Tyrosol β-galactoside (TG) is a phenylethanoid glycoside with proven neuroprotective properties. This work deals with its biocatalytic production from tyrosol and lactose using Aspergillus oryzae β-galactosidase in immobilized form. Six commercial carriers were examined to find the optimal biocatalyst. Besides standard biocatalyst performance characteristics, adsorption of the hydrophobic substrate on immobilization carrier matrices was also investigated. The adsorption of tyrosol was significant, but it did not have adverse effects on TG production. On the contrary, TG yield was improved for some biocatalysts. A biocatalyst prepared by covalent binding of β-galactosidase on an epoxy-activated carrier was used for detailed investigation of the effect of reaction conditions on glycoside production. Temperature had a surprisingly weak effect on the overall process rate. A lactose concentration of 0.83 M was found to be optimal to enhance TG formation. The impact of tyrosol concentration was rather complex. This substrate caused inhibition of all reactions. Its concentration had a strong effect on the hydrolysis of lactose and all products. Higher tyrosol concentrations, 30-40 g/L, were favorable as pseudo-equilibrium concentrations of TG and galactooligosaccharide were reached. Repeated batch results revealed excellent operational stability of the biocatalyst.
Keywords: Immobilized β-galactosidase; Reaction network; Substrate adsorption; Transgalactosylation; Tyrosol β-galactoside.