The purpose of this research was to study the effect of the methyl branching of a high log P alkane solvent and the water activity in the organic medium on the initial rate and the enantioselectivity of ibuprofen esterification catalyzed by Candida rugosa
lipase. Resolution of ibuprofen is important because S-(+)-ibuprofen has the desired pharmacological activity, whereas the R-(-)-enantiomer causes much of the side effects. The Candida rugosa
lipase-catalyzed reaction in isooctane at 40°C and 0.73 water activity gave the best results, both in terms of the initial reaction rate and the enantioselectivity of the reaction. An increase in water activity allowed a higher reaction rate and enantiomeric excess in each of the four solvents. An increase in methyl branching did not necessarily increase the initial reaction rate, but it allowed a higher enantioselectivity, evidenced by an increase in the substrate enantiomeric excess.