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J Ind Microbiol. 1993 Feb;12(2):76-86.

Whole cell biocatalysis in nonconventional media.

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Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


In this paper biocatalytic reactions carried out by whole cells in nonconventional media are reviewed. Similar relationships are observed between solvent hydrophobicity and catalytic activity in reactions carried out by isolated enzymes and whole cells. In addition to the effect of organic solvent on biocatalyst stability, microbial cells are susceptible to damaging effects caused by the organic phase. In general, more hydrophobic solvents manifest lower toxicity towards the cells. Whole cell biocatalysts require more water than isolated enzymes and two-phase systems have been most widely used to study whole cell biocatalysis. Immobilization makes cell biocatalysts more resistant to organic solvents and helps achieve homogeneous biocatalyst dispersion. Cell entrapment methods have been widely used with organic solvent systems and mixtures of natural and/or synthetic polymers allow adjustment of the hydrophobicity-hydrophilicity balance of the support matrix. Some examples of stereoselective catalysis using microbial cells in organic solvent media are presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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