Chapter 15: Sustainability of Biocatalytic Processes
Published:16 Dec 2014
D. Malhotra, J. Mukherjee, and M. N. Gupta, in Chemical Processes for a Sustainable Future, ed. T. Letcher, J. Scott, and D. Patterson, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2014, ch. 15, pp. 388-421.
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White biotechnology is largely based on the use of biocatalysts in the production of chemicals, drug intermediates, materials and biofuels. Various metrics for measuring the sustainability of a process are available and their uses often show that biocatalytic routes score over production strategies based on chemical catalysts alone. The possibility of using various reaction media, improving the performance of biocatalysts by engineering, sourcing enzymes from extremophiles, and assistance from microwave and ultrasonic radiations have all made biocatalysis more versatile and efficient. While enzyme specificity has been exploited for many years in organic synthesis, catalytic promiscuity has further expanded the range of enzymes in recent years. Finally, the concepts of biorefineries and valorization of waste complement each other and enhance the sustainability and economic viability of biocatalytic processes.