Enzymatic processes in alternative reaction media: a mini review
Biocatalysis is a growing field in the production of fine chemicals and will most probably increase its share in the future. Enzymatic reactions are carried out under mild conditions, i.e., non-toxic solvents, low temperature and pressure, which eliminates most environmental drawbacks associated with conventional production methods. The superiority of chemo-, regio- and enantioselectivity of enzymes exhibit significant advantages over conventional catalysts for production of fine chemicals, flavors, fragrances, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Enzymes can function both in aqueous and non-aqueous solvents. As a result of the growing scientific and industrial interest towards green chemistry, green solvent systems, which are mainly water, supercritical fluids, ionic liquids, fluorinated solvents, and solvent-free systems have become more popular in biocatalysis. However, the activity and selectivity of an enzyme is heavily dependent on solvent properties. In this review, various green solvents were classified and some of their influential features on enzyme activity were discussed.
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