lipase enzyme


Also known as triacylglycerol acyl-hydrolase, galactolipase or phospholipase

What is lipase?

Lipase is one type of hydrolytic enzymes responsible for degrading or modifying nonpolar (e.g. triglycerides) and polar lipids (e.g. galactolipids and phospholipids) found in both animal and plant sources.

Lipase is a clean label ingredient, considered as a processing aid.

  • It can partially or totally replace traditional dough strengthening emulsifiers, such as anionic surfactants DATEM and SSL.
  • Lipase can also replace crumb softening products such as glyceryl monostearate (GMS).


Lipases are key enzymes involved in fat digestion in humans and animals by converting insoluble triacylglycerols into more soluble products, fatty acids and mono-acylglycerols, that can easily be metabolized for energy generation.1

It can be found in many plants and animals. In recent decades, lipases have been produced commercially from highly specialized microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi.


Lipases catalyze hydrolytic reactions of lipids by cleaving the carboxylic ester bonds between the glycerol backbone and one or more of the fatty acid chains.

The term ’lipase’ is usually expressed as a singular noun although it encompasses different types of lipolytic enzymes. The following table lists lipases which perform essential functions in baked goods, such as foam emulsification (i.e. gas bubble stabilization) and crumb softening through starch complexing.

Lipases act on the endogenous lipids found in wheat flour and other lipids added in the form of oil or lecithin. Flour lipids are a complicated mixture of compounds. Of the 2.0–3.0% (w/w) lipid material found in whole wheat flour, about 50% are non-polar lipids (triacyl glycerides, fatty acids, sterols, and their esters), and the other half are strongly polar (phospholipids and galactolipids).2

Lipase EC number Substrate Reaction catalyzed Ingredient replaced
Triacylglycerol lipase Non-polar lipids in vegetable fats and oils Triacylglycerol (TAG) + H2O →

Diacylglycerol (DAG) + Free fatty acid (FFA)

Diacylglycerol (DAG) + H2O →

Monoacylglycerol (MAG) + FFA




Phospholipase A1 Polar lipids found in cereal flours and soy/sunflower lecithin Phosphatidyl-choline (PC) + H2O → Lysophosphatidyl-choline (LPC)...

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