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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013 May;97(10):4259-75. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-4842-9. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

An overview on alcohol oxidases and their potential applications.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, 781 039 Assam, India.


Alcohol oxidases (Alcohol: O₂ Oxidoreductase; EC 1.1.3.x) are flavoenzymes that catalyze the oxidation of alcohols to the corresponding carbonyl compounds with a concomitant release of hydrogen peroxide. Based on substrate specificity, alcohol oxidases may be categorized broadly into four different groups namely, (a) short chain alcohol oxidase (SCAO), (b) long chain alcohol oxidase (LCAO), (c) aromatic alcohol oxidase (AAO), and (d) secondary alcohol oxidase (SAO). The sources reported for these enzymes are mostly limited to bacteria, yeast, fungi, plant, insect, and mollusks. However, the quantum of reports for each category of enzymes considerably varies across these sources. The enzymes belonging to SCAO and LCAO are intracellular in nature, whereas AAO and SAO are mostly secreted to the medium. SCAO and LCAO are invariably reported as multimeric proteins with very high holoenzyme molecular masses, but the molecular characteristics of these enzymes are yet to be clearly elucidated. One of the striking features of the alcohol oxidases that make them distinct from the widely known alcohol dehydrogenase is the avidly bound cofactor to the redox center of these enzymes that obviate the need to supplement cofactor during the catalytic reaction. These flavin-based redox enzymes have gained enormous importance in the development of various industrial processes and products primarily for developing biosensors and production of various industrially useful carbonyl compounds. The present review provides an overview on alcohol oxidases from different categories focusing research on these oxidases during the last decade along with their potential industrial applications.

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