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29th February 2016

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Does your Process Require an Immobilised Enzyme?

With a lot of attention focused on making industrial processes ‘green’ and sustainable, it is not surprising that enzymes are in the limelight more and more. Subsequently, biocatalysis is finding a broad range of applications, from the synthesis of pharmaceuticals to that of fragrances. This is where we [Biocatalysts Ltd] come in – discovering, developing and manufacturing customised enzymes for our customers in a timely and cost effective manner. We routinely produce powder and liquid enzymes, but occasionally we are asked if we can manufacture immobilised enzymes.

Enzyme Immobilisation

Immobilisation of enzymes adds another dimension to the use of enzymes in industry. Immobilisation involves confining an enzyme to a phase distinct from that in which the substrate and product are present. This technique offers several advantages such as repetitive use of a batch of enzyme, separation of the product from the catalyst and increased enzyme stability. When deciding whether or not to use an immobilised enzyme it is important to weigh up both the advantages and disadvantages – Follow this link to read more on this.

Choosing the Most Appropriate Type of Enzyme Immobilisation

The most important factor to take into account when preparing to immobilise an enzyme is the carrier matrix or resin which must be chosen carefully. Customers more often than not, depend on our expertise to choose the best resin for their enzyme, but some customers insist on a particular matrix depending on past work with their enzymes.

There are four different types of immobilisation – adsorption, covalent bonding, encapsulation and cross linking.

Enzyme Immobilisation - The Different Types

One of the most popular methods of immobilisation is the adsorption methods and this is due to ease of technique, ease of scale up and low costs. Nelson and Griffin developed the first immobilised enzyme model – invertase on activated charcoal in 1916 using this technique. Biocatalysts Ltd offer bench scale immobilisation services as part of our enzyme development and manufacturing process. Our customers often prefer this simple method of adsorption in cases where high enzyme loading is required. The resin of choice is loaded with the enzyme, then washed with water or buffer to remove any loosely bound or unbound enzyme and dried. The protein concentration of the wash fractions are determined in order to assess any protein leaching during the wash steps. The dried resin is then dispatched to the customer for their application trials.

Every enzyme immobilisation method has its own advantages and disadvantages and the challenge is choosing the most appropriate method of immobilisation and a suitable matrix. This necessitates further research for developing highly efficient and economically sound enzyme immobilisation strategies. At Biocatalysts, particular emphasis will be laid on finding the right immobilisation solutions to exceed enzyme expectations.

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