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An overview of immobilized enzymes used in the industry


*Corresponding author
Purolite Ltd., Llantrisant, United Kingdom


The use of immobilized enzymes is now an established technology for the manufacture of many key compounds in the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industry. Certain enzymes, such as lipases, are naturally robust and efficient, and are used in immobilized form to produce different molecules for different final applications. More specific enzymes, such as transaminases, which have required protein engineering to become suitable for applications in industrial manufacture; are now utilized in immobilized form in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). For all enzymes, the possibility to be immobilized and used in a heterogeneous form holds significant industrial and environmental advantages such as simplified downstream processing, or continuous process operations. Here, we present a series of large-scale applications of immobilized enzymes with benefits for the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.

INTRODUCTION The decision to use free soluble enzymes or enzymes in an insoluble form in industrial applications, is largely dependent on the cost of the enzyme and the application. Enzymes in an insoluble form are essentially a specialized form of heterogeneous catalysis, in that they can be recovered and reused, often maintain activity for long periods of time, and they are applicable to a variety of process formats.  Immobilization of an enzyme means combining the selectivity, stability and kinetic properties 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 physically and enzymatically, of the biocatalyst.  In addition to the advantages, it is also important to recognize the limitations of immobilized enzymes. For example, the fast kinetics of native enzymes such as amylases or proteases is dramatically reduced when immobilized due to diffusion restrictions, making the immobilized enzyme less economical. Costs associated with both the resin and the enzyme itself ...

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