Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Microbiology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2008
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
Citation: Saha, B.C., Bothast, R.J., Jordan, D.B. 2009. Enzymes, Industrial (Overview). In: Schaechter, M., editor. Encyclopedia of Microbiology. Oxford: Elsevier. p. 281-294. Technical Abstract: Enzymes serve key roles in numerous biotechnology processes and products that are commonly encountered in the forms of food and beverages, cleaning supplies, clothing, paper products, transportation fuels, pharmaceuticals, and monitoring devices. Enzymes can display regio- and stereo-specificity, properties that have been exploited for asymmetric synthesis and racemic resolution. Chiral selectivity of enzymes has been employed to prepare enantiomerically pure pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, chemical feedstocks, and food additives. Enzymatic methods have replaced numerous conventional chemical processes, and they have afforded practical routes to products that were unprecedented by conventional chemistry. Hundreds of enzymes are used industrially. Microbial enzymes have largely replaced the traditional plant and animal enzymes, and most of them are produced by recombinant microorganisms. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology has been used to modify substrate specificity, improve stability properties of enzymes to increase yields of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, and engineer cellular metabolism to increase yields of fermentation products. Enzymes are environmentally friendly: they work under moderate conditions of temperature, pH, and pressure, their catalyzed reactions rarely form wasteful side products, and the proteins themselves are biodegradable and generally pose no threat to the environment. This work reviews the application of enzymes in industry.