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J Biotechnol. 2004 Sep 30;113(1-3):183-210.

Process implementation aspects for biocatalytic hydrocarbon oxyfunctionalization.

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Institute of Biotechnology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg HPT, CH-8093.


Oxidoreductases catalyze a large variety of regio-, stereo-, and chemoselective hydrocarbon oxyfunctionalizations, reactions, which are important in industrial organic synthesis but difficult to achieve by chemical means. This review summarizes process implementation aspects for the in vivo application of the especially versatile enzyme class of oxygenases, capable of specifically introducing oxygen from molecular oxygen into a large range of organic molecules. Critical issues such as reaching high enzyme activity and specificity, product degradation, cofactor recycling, reactant toxicity, and substrate and oxygen mass transfer can be overcome by biochemical process engineering and biocatalyst engineering. Both strategies provide a growing toolset to facilitate process implementation, optimization, and scale-up. Major advances were achieved via heterologous overexpression of oxygenase genes, directed evolution, metabolic engineering, and in situ product removal. Process examples from industry and academia show that the combined use of different concepts enables efficient oxygenase-based whole-cell catalysis of various commercially interesting reactions such as the biosynthesis of chiral compounds, the specific oxyfunctionalization of complex molecules, and also the synthesis of medium-priced chemicals. Better understanding of the cell metabolism and future developments in both biocatalyst and bioprocess engineering are expected to promote the implementation of many and various industrial biooxidation processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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