Entrapment of Enzyme in Water-Restricted Microenvironment for Enzyme-Mediated Catalysis Under Microemulsion-Based Organogels

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Nonaqueous enzymology has emerged as a major area of biotechnology research and development. Enzymes in organic solvents offer great potential for the biocatalysis of a wide range of chemical processes that cannot occur in water. One of the most commonly used methods for carrying out enzymatic conversions in organic solvents is enzymes solubilized in water-in-oil (w/o) microemulsions or water containing reverse micelles. In reverse micelles, enzyme molecules are solubilized in discrete hydrated micelles formed by surfactants within a continuous phase, i.e., nonpolar organic solvent. Under appropriate conditions, these solutions are homogeneous, ther-modynamically stable, and optically transparent. However, there are very few examples of preparative-scale enzyme-catalyzed synthesis in water-in-oil microemulsion. One reason is that despite the advantages offered by microemulsion media, product isolation and enzyme reuse from such single-phase liquid medium is more complex than in competing methodologies in which the catalyst is present as a separate solid phase. Therefore, the approach simplifying product isolation, and enzyme reuse from micro-emulsion-based media, has been the use of a gelled microemulsion system, especially gelatin silica nanocomposite.

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