in Lipid Modification
(Ed.) / DGF (Deutsche Gesellschaft f. Fettwissenschaften) (Wiley-VCH, 2000)
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Industrial-age society has been -- or at least is being -- transformed
into an information-age society. The plethora of information now available
down to molecular genomic levels still continues to grow. With
justification those working in such areas feel part of a biosociety; and professional
organizations have responded accordingly. For instance, in the 1970s
our own Deutsche Gesellschaft für Fettwissenschaft (DGF) created a Division
of Biochemistry and Biotechnology which for some time now has been co-chaired
by Uwe Bornscheuer.
Uwe Bornscheuer is an authoritative colleague in the field of enzyme technology.
Together with Romas Kaslauskas he wrote a highly acclaimed book on Hydrolases
in Organic Synthesis published by Wiley-VCH. The present book "Enzymes
in Lipid Modification" is also a publication by Wiley-VCH, and I am pleased
that this renowned publishing house is becoming increasingly engaged in lipids,
fats and oils. By launching the new monthly European Journal of Lipid Science
and Technology in January 2000, indeed, DGF and Wiley-VCH are already a successful
Scientific interest in enzymes acting on lipids has a long history.
The first focus was on lipases. Then phospholipases came to the fore,
and lately lipoxygenases and monooxygenases have garnered attention. I wish
to thank Uwe Bornscheuer for gathering acknowledged experts to write succinct
chapters pertaining to these groups of enzymes. Their informative and critical
reviews discuss how to use and improve properties of proteins such as reversability,
chirality and stability in the synthesis of products. The aim and scope of
the book is thus truly biotechnological. DGF happily cooperates in this endeavor!
President of DGF
Münster, April 2000
In the last two decades,
our understanding of biocatalysts has increased considerably, as have the
number of applications of biocatalysts for synthesis. The success of
biocatalysts stems from better availability of enzymes - mainly due to the
vast progress in genetic engineering -, advances in bioreaction engineering,
increasing demands for environmentally-friendly processes, which makes a biocatalytic
route more attractive and often more cost-effective than a chemical one.
Most of the approximately 90 million metric tonnes of fats and oils produced
worldwide are used in human nutrition. However, not all fats and oils obtained
from animals or plants are necessarily ideal for the human diet, e.g. high
contents of saturated fatty acids can cause cardiovascular diseases. Beside
physico-chemical modifications and the introduction of genetically engineered
plants producing designer-oils, biocatalysts offer an alternative
way to convert lipids into suitable edible products as well as their conversion
into basic-chemicals useful for, e.g. synthesis of detergents
From all enzymes available in nature, hydrolases are probably most easy-to-use,
because they do not require cofactors and are usually rather stable under
process conditions. This holds especially true for lipases and phospholipases.
A large number of lipases are commercially available and several industrial
processes use lipases. As lipids are the natural substrates of lipases, it
is not surprising that most chapters in this book review their application
in lipid modification, such as hydrolysis to produce free fatty acids, synthesis
of partial glycerides, enrichment/isolation of polyunsaturated fatty acids,
which are important for the human diet. Also covered are their cloning, expression
and mutagenesis of lipases as well as attempts to understand the molecular
basis for their specificity and stereoselectivity. In addition engineering
aspects and the choice of suitable solvent system are addressed.
Availability and applications of phospholipases are still less developed compared
to lipases. The three chapters in this book allow the conclusion, that
in the near future drawbacks like limited substrate range, stability under
process conditions and difficult expression in suitable hosts will be overcome.
Other enzymes frequently studied in lipid modification are lipoxygenases and
P450-monooxygenases, which are reviewed in the remaining chapters. They are
very attractive for organic synthesis, because they allow functionalization
of fatty acids to generate, e.g., fine chemicals, flavors and emulsifiers
such as sophoroselipids.
I am convinced that this book - reflecting the state-of-the-art of enzymatic
lipid modification written by leading experts in their field - will provide
the reader with guidelines how to select suitable enzymes and how to apply
Finally, I would to express my thanks to all contributors to this book. The
untiring support and patience of Ms. Karen Dembowsky and her staff at Wiley-VCH
is gratefully acknowledged.
Uwe Bornscheuer, Greifswald, April 2000
others think about this book:
Frank D. Gunstone, Lipid
Kerstin Riedel, ChemBioChem:
Lothar Jaenicke, BIOspektrum: (pdf)
Our new homepage is almost finished and this site will not be updated anymore.
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.
An author profile about Uwe Bornscheuer has been published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Institute of Biochemistry
Dept. of Biotechnology & Enzyme Catalysis
D-17487 Greifswald/ Germany
+49 (0)3834-86-4391 (Secr.)