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Smart enzyme immobilization in microstructured reactors

*Corresponding author
Graz University of Technology, Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, Petersgasse 12, A-8010, Graz, Austria


There has been much recent interest in the application of microstructured flow reactors as tools of biocatalytic process research and development. Continuous biotransformations are often best performed using a heterogeneous biocatalyst, obtained through immobilization of the applied enzyme preparation on the surface of the reactor’s internal (micro)structure. Smart integration of enzyme immobilization in the design and operation of microstructured reactors has presented a considerable challenge for development. The immobilization should be stable, but also readily reversible to allow re-use of the microstructured element. We describe recent advances in the field of microscale enzyme immobilization and summarize recent applications of immobilized enzyme microreactors for biocatalytic synthesis.


Microreaction technology has become a powerful engineering tool for chemical process research and development. Microstructured flow reactors, in short microreactors, are now applied to perform an array of chemical transformations, replacing traditionally used systems such as the stirred tank reactor operated in batch mode (1). The use of highly automated microreactors was shown to provide the process development with interesting new opportunities (2, 3). First of all, reaction screening and optimization can be performed in a fast manner at controlled conditions and at low material input. Secondly, due to their excellent mass and heat transfer characteristics, microreactors potentially enable the process development with an expanded window of operation, supporting process options not accessible to conventional process technologies and ultimately resulting in enhanced process performance (1-3). Matching of the reactor fluidics to the requirements of the particular reaction studied may also contribute to improved process control and thus product quality. The suggested use of microreactors has been analyzed and ...