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Using immobilized enzymes in industrial biocatalysis
In this article we look at the use of immobilized enzymes in industrial manufacture and the benefits they offer to create a more eco-sustainable and efficient process.
The use of enzymes in industrial manufacture has seen a growth in popularity in recent decades due to their advantages over more traditional chemical processes. Compared to synthetic catalysts, enzymes demonstrate high specificity, lower energy requirements and improved sustainability when performing chemical transformations. However, immobilizing these green catalysts on solid supports can offer an increased stability to operating conditions and in certain cases, a simplified process. Therefore, the increasing use of immobilized enzymes in the industry is offering a solution to the growing pressures for greener manufacturing.
Use of Immobilized Enzymes in Industrial Manufacturing
The use of immobilized enzymes in industrial manufacturing is increasing in many different sectors such as pharmaceutical, chemical and food. Thanks to major achievements made in enzyme development and protein engineering in recent years, more and more molecules are being synthesized using enzymes.
Immobilization of an enzyme combines the selectivity, stability and kinetic of that enzyme with the physical and chemical properties of the carrier in a specialized formulation. This has the primary role of maximizing the stability, both physical and enzymatic, of the biocatalyst. Immobilization also enables the recovery and reuse of the biocatalyst which has been facilitated by the developments in enzyme immobilization.
Benefits of Using Immobilized Enzymes as an Alternative to Chemical Processes
Immobilized enzymes provide substantial benefits to the industrial processes in which they are currently used. These benefits include: process simplification, reduced environmental impact and a more sustainable process compared to chemical synthesis.
For all enzymes, the possibility to be immobilized and used in a heterogeneous form brings important industrial and environmental advantages, such as simplified downstream processing or continuous process operations.
Compared to chemical catalysis which uses high temperatures, expensive catalysts, toxic reagents and by-products are formed, the use of enzymatic catalysis offers the possibility to work in a 'greener' condition.
Enzymes are highly regio- and enantioselective and often this is the key to their success. Molecules produced using enzymes are cleaner and have the desired enantiospecificity. When they are in the immobilized form, they have these additional benefits: