Wiley: Green Biocatalysis - Ramesh N. Patel
Biocatalysis is the use of natural catalysts (e.g., enzymes), in place of chemical catalysts in synthetic processes. This enables new, sustainable routes of production for intermediates and APIs. It is an important tool for medicinal, process and polymer chemists, allowing the development of efficient and highly attractive organic synthetic processes on an industrial scale.
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Building bridges between biocatalysis and organic synthesis will therefore create roads to new synthetic strategies and technological frontiers of both fundamental and practical interest.
Based on the principles and metrics of green chemistry and sustainable development, biocatalysis is both a green and sustainable technology. This is largely a result of the spectacular advances in molecular biology and biotechnology achieved in the past two decades. Protein engineering has enabled the optimization of existing enzymes and the invention of entirely new biocatalytic reactions that were previously unknown in Nature. It is now eminently feasible to develop enzymatic transformations to fit predefined parameters, resulting in processes that are truly sustainable by design. This approach has successfully been applied, for example, in the industrial synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In addition to the use of protein engineering, other aspects of biocatalysis engineering, such as substrate, medium, and reactor engineering, can be utilized to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness and, hence, the sustainability of biocatalytic reactions. Furthermore, immobilization of an enzyme can improve its stability and enable its reuse multiple times, resulting in better performance and commercial viability. Consequently, biocatalysis is being widely applied in the production of pharmaceuticals and some commodity chemicals. Moreover, its broader application will be further stimulated in the future by the emerging biobased economy.