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Investigations on diffusion limitations of biocatalyzed reactions in amphiphilic polymer conetworks in organic solvents


Correspondence to: J. C. Tiller




The use of enzymes as biocatalysts in organic media is an important issue in modern white biotechnology. However, their low activity and stability in those media often limits their full-scale application. Amphiphilic polymer conetworks (APCNs) have been shown to greatly activate entrapped enzymes in organic solvents. Since these nanostructured materials are not porous, the bioactivity of the conetworks is strongly limited by diffusion of substrate and product. The present manuscript describes two different APCNs as nanostructured microparticles, which showed greatly increased activities of entrapped enzymes compared to those of the already activating membranes and larger particles. We demonstrated this on the example of APCN particles based on PHEA-l-PDMS loaded with α-Chymotrypsin, which resulted in an up to 28,000-fold higher activity of the enzyme compared to the enzyme powder. Furthermore, lipase from Rhizomucor miehei entrapped in particles based on PHEA-l-PEtOx was tested in n-heptane, chloroform, and substrate. Specific activities in smaller particles were 10- to 100-fold higher in comparison to the native enzyme. The carrier activity of PHEA-l-PEtOx microparticles was tenfold higher with some 25–50-fold lower enzyme content compared to a commercial product. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110:2333–2342. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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