7. Biocatalytic Reactions in Ionic Liquids

  1. Natalia V. Plechkova and
  2. Kenneth R. Seddon
  1. Florian Stein and
  2. Udo Kragl

Published Online: 14 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118839706.ch7

Ionic Liquids Further UnCOILed: Critical Expert Overviews

Ionic Liquids Further UnCOILed: Critical Expert Overviews

How to Cite

Stein, F. and Kragl, U. (2014) Biocatalytic Reactions in Ionic Liquids, in Ionic Liquids Further UnCOILed: Critical Expert Overviews (eds N. V. Plechkova and K. R. Seddon), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118839706.ch7

Editor Information

  1. The Queen's University of Belfast

Author Information

  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 20 MAR 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118438633

Online ISBN: 9781118839706



  • biocatalytic reactions;
  • environment;
  • enzymes;
  • hydrophobic substrates;
  • impurities;
  • ionic liquids;
  • water activity;
  • water content;
  • whole-cell systems


Today biocatalytic reactions are widely used in industrial processes. The spectrum of applications has grown since the discovery that enzymes are active even in organic solvents. The main advantages of organic solvents are increased solubility of hydrophobic substrates, easy product purification, possible enzyme stabilising effects, and suppression of side reactions such as hydrolysis. But biocatalysts show a lack of activity and stability in protic and polar solvents, which is a common problem using enzymes. The hope of scientists for ionic liquids is to close this gap. Many studies have been carried out since early reports published in 2000. Many applications show good activities, yields, and/or selectivities for single and multiphase systems. In addition to that, many researchers deal with the question about influence of ionic liquids and impurities such as water on the biocatalytic reactions. Another field of interest is the use of whole-cell systems, as they allow the use of a greater variety of enzymes because of their integrated cofactor regeneration. In order to use a whole-cell system, several important points have to be taken into consideration, such as finding an appropriate solvent, catalyst, and downstream process. In addition to these points, the toxicity of ionic liquids against cells is also very important, and several reports give an overview of which ionic liquids are biocompatible.