Biocatalysts & Enzyme Technology

2nd edition: K. Buchholz / V. Kasche / U.T. Bornscheuer (Wiley-VCH, 2012)

Reviews in:

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. "Overall, the second edition is up-to-date and can be recommended without hesitation for every reader interested in enzyme catalysis and applications."

Biotechnol. J. "It was a real pleasure to carefully study this textbook step by step and I would in any event recommend it worldwide as a basic introductory course in enzyme engineering."


K. Buchholz / V. Kasche / U.T. Bornscheuer (Wiley-VCH, 2005)


Chapter 1 (free download)

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Reviews in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., ChemBioChem, and Eng. Life Sci..

Corrections (pdf).


Preface to the 1st English Edition
The basic philosophy of the previous german edition is retained. The contents have been revised and updated to account for the considerable development in enzyme technology/applied biocatalysis since the german edition was prepared some 10 years ago. For this aim also a new Chapter 3 has been added to account for the increasing importance of enzymes as biocatalysts in organic chemistry. Recent progress in proteoin design (by rational means and directed evolution) has been considerably expanded in Chapter 2. The last chapter has been amended with more detailed case studies to illustrate the problems that must be solved in the design of enzyme processes. An appendix on information retrieval using library and internet resources has been added. We thank Thomas Hapke (Subject Librarian for Chemical Engineering at the Libraty of the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg) for help in the preparation of this appendix. The chapter on enzymes for analytical purposes has been removed in this english edition as it now is outside the scope of this textbook.
We thank Prof. Dr. L. Jaenicke and Prof. Dr. J.K.P. Weder for very constructive suggestions for corrections and improvements of the german edition.
The authors of this edition thank Prof. Dr. Andreas Bommarius, Dr. Aurelio Hidalgo, Dr. Janne Kerovuo, Dr. Tanja Kummer, Dr. Dieter Krämer, Brian Morgan, Sven Pedersen, Poul Poulsen, Prof. dr. Peter Reilly, Dr. Klaus Sauber, Dr. Wilhelm Tischer, Dr. David Weiner for valuable discussions, revisions and suggestions while preparing this book.
Klaus Buchholz Volker Kasche Uwe T. Bornscheuer

Preface to the 1st german edition

Biotechnology is the technical application of biological systems or parts thereof to provide products and services to meet human needs. It can, besides other techniques, contribute to do this in a sustainable manner. Mainly renewable raw materials and biological systems are used in biotechnological processes. They can therefore – and should – be performed practically without waste, as all by-products can be recycled.
To develop the natural and engineering science fundamentals for the design of such processes is a challenge for biotechnology, a field that originated from the overlapping parts of biology, chemistry and process engineering.
The education for a career in biotechnology consists, besides the basic knowledge of these fields, of additional biotechnological contents. The latter must provide an overview over the whole field and a deeper insight in different parts of biotechnology. The biotechnological production of various goods is done either in fermenters with living cells (technical microbiology), or with enzymes, isolated or in cells as biocatalysts. The latter has developed to a part of biotechnology known as enzyme technology or applied biocatalysis.
The aim of the present textbook is to provide a deeper insight in the fundamentals of enzyme technology and applied biocatalysis. It especially stresses the following interrrelationships: A thorough understanding of enzymes as biocatalysts requires the integration of natural science knowledge: biology, esperially biochemistry, cell and molecular biology; physico-chemical aspects of catalysis and molecular interactions in solutions, heterogeneous systems and interphase boundaries; the physics of mass transfer processes. The same applies for the interrelations between enzyme technology and chemical and process engineering, which are based on the above natural sciences.
In less than a century since the start of industrial enzyme production, enzyme technology and its products have continuously gained increasing importance. For the industrial production of goods to meet demands in human need for everyday life, enzymes play an important – often hardly known role. Their application spans from the production of processed foods, such as bread, cheese, juice beer; pharmaceuticals; fine chemicals; to the processing of leather and textiles, and their application as process aids in detergents or environmental engineering.
To meet the demand for new products, such as new or sterically pure pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, is an important incentive for the further development of biocatalysts and enzyme technology. Of similar importance is the development of new sustainable production processes for existing products. This is covered in the introductory chapter 1.
Enzymes as catalysts are of key importance in biotechnology, similar to the role of nucleic acids as carriers of genetic information. Their application as isolated catalysts justifies the detailed treatment of the fundamentals of enzymes as biocatalyts in chapter 2. They can be analyzed on a molecular level and their kinetics can be described by mathematics. This is essential for an analytical description and the rational design of enzyme processes. Enzymes can catalyse a reaction in both directions. This is applied in enzyme technology, in order to reach the desired endpoint of a reaction rapidly and with high product yield. The thermodynamics of the catalyzed reaction must also be considered, as well as the properties of the enzyme. The enzyme amount required for a given conversion of substrate per unit time must be calculated in order to estimate the enzyme cost and the economic feasability of the process. Therefore the quantitative treatment of biocatalysis is stressed in this chapter.
When the enzyme costs are too high, they can be reduced by improving the production of enzymes. This is reviewed in Chapter 3 (4 in this book).
In Chapter 4 (here 5) applied biocatalysis with free enzymes is covered based on examples of relevant enzyme processes. When the single use is economically unfavourable, the enzymes can be reused or used for continuous processes either in membrane reactors (Chapter 4, here Chapter 5) or by immobilization (Chapter 5 and 6, here 6 and 7). Chapter 5 covers the immobilisation of isolated enzymes in detail. In Chapter 6 this is done for microorganisms and cells, with special reference for environmental technology.
In order to describe processes with immobilized biocatalysts analytically that is required for a rational process design, the coupling of reaction and diffusion in these systems must be considered. For such a characterization of immobilized biocatalysts methods developed previously for analogous biological and process engineering (heterogeneous catalysis) systems, can be used (Chapter 7, here 8).
In Chapter 8 (here 9) reactors and process engineering techniques in enzyme technology are covered. In the last Chapter the analytical applications of free and immobilized enzymes is treated (not covered here).
In each Chapter an introductory survey, exercises and references to more general literature and original papers, cited or covering the contents of the Chapter are given.
The textbook addresses advanced and graduate students in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemical, Chemical and Process Engineering, as well as scientists in industry, research institutes and universities. It should provide a solid foundation that covers all relevant aspects for research and development in Applied Biocatalysis/Enzyme Technology. They are not of equal importance in all cases. Therefore a selective use of the book, depending on the individual requirements may be suitable.
In addition to a balanced methodological basis, we have tried to present extensive data and examples of new processes, in order to stress the relevance for the industrial practice.
From our point of view it is also important to stress the interactions, which exist beyond the scientific and engineering context with our society and environment. The importance and necessity of these interactions for a sustainable development has been realized in the last two decades and has resulted in new economic and political boundary conditions for scientific and engineering development. Problems, such as the occurence of allergy due to enzymes during the first use of enzymes in detergents, and the newly introduced use of enzymes produced in recombinant organisms, directly illustrate their influence on enzyme technology/applied biocatalysis. An integrated process design must therefore also consider its environmental impact, from the supply and efficient use of raw materials to the minimization and recycling of by-products and waste. Political boundary conditions derived from the sustainability concept, expressed in laws and other regulations, necessitates their consideration in research and development. The design of sustainable processes is therefore an important challenge also for applied biocatalysis/enzyme technology. Ethical aspects must also be considered when gene technology is applied, as it is increasingly done in the production of technical and pharmaceutical enzymes. The manifold interactions between research and development and the economic and political boundary conditions, must be considered in every application of natural and engineering sciences. This must be done in an early phase of the development, with evaluation and selection of the best of alternative production processes to meet various human needs as is illustrated in the following scheme.

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This book has been developed from our lectures. We thank all those who gaveus valuable recommendations in order to improve it. For their help during the preparation of the manuscript and the drawings we thank Dipl.Ing. Klaus Gollembiewsky, Dr. Lieker, Dr. Noll-Borchers and Dipl. Chem. Andre Rieks.
Klaus Buchholz Volker Kasche

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In 2016, Uwe Bornscheuer has published News & Views articles in "Nature" and in "Nature Chem. Biol.", a "Perspectives" contribution in the journal "Science" and aresearch article in the journal "Nature Chem."

Johannes Kabisch (junior research group leader) has accepted a position as Junior-Professor at the TU-Darmstadt and Robert Kourist is now full Professor at the TU-Graz, congratulations!

Daniel Last (#51) has finished his PhD!

Uwe Bornscheuer has published his 25th contribution (an Editorial) in the top chemistry journal "Angew. Chem. Int. Ed."

Uwe Bornscheuer has received the "Stephen S. Chang Award" of the Am. Oil. Chem. Soc. (AOCS).

Our paper on the discovery of (R)-selective amine transaminases has been highlighted as "Best Design Concept" by Nat. Chem. Biol.

Author profile:

An author profile about Uwe Bornscheuer has been published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Bornscheuer
Institute of Biochemistry
Dept. of Biotechnology & Enzyme Catalysis
Felix-Hausdorff-Str. 4
D-17487 Greifswald/ Germany

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