• isobutanol;
  • immobilized enzyme;
  • in vitro alcohol production;
  • cell-free

To overcome the main challenges facing alcohol-based biofuel production, we propose an alternate simplified biofuel production scheme based on a cell-free immobilized enzyme system. In this paper, we measured the activity of two tetrameric enzymes, a control enzyme with a colorimetric assay, β-galactosidase, and an alcohol-producing enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, immobilized on multiple surface curvatures and chemistries. Several solid supports including silica nanoparticles (convex), mesopourous silica (concave), diatomaceous earth (concave), and methacrylate (concave) were examined. High conversion rates and low protein leaching was achieved by covalent immobilization of both enzymes on methacrylate resin. Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) exhibited long-term stability and over 80% conversion of aldehyde to alcohol over 16 days of batch cycles. The complete reaction scheme for the conversion of acid to aldehyde to alcohol was demonstrated in vitro by immobilizing ADH with keto-acid decarboxylase free in solution. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:324–331, 2014