About this Research Topic
Biocatalysis (both with isolated enzymes and whole cells) is a constantly expanding technology that enables us to carry out chemical reactions in an exquisite selective manner, usually under mild reaction conditions, representing a low environmental impact alternative to conventional syntheses. Biological catalysts are, in fact, becoming key components integrated with several synthetic routes to molecules of industrial interest, ranging from bulk chemicals to high-added value compounds such as pharmaceutical intermediates and drugs. The reasons underlying the success of biocatalysis can be easily ascribed not only to biocatalysts’ intrinsic properties but also to the impact that several disciplines are having on this field. For example, the availability of efficient molecular cloning techniques associated with improved protein expression platforms have made available an ever-expanding enzymatic toolbox for, ideally, any reaction.
However, the full potential of biocatalysts as alternatives to their chemical counterparts for more ambitious reactions and products have not been completely exploited and much effort is still required.
First, the quest for biocatalysts endowed with excellent activity, robustness, and novel specificity is continuously increasing. New biocatalysts can be discovered by either screening novel microorganisms or identifying new genes via genome mining, with special attention to the microbial diversity of extreme environments. Moreover, new and established strategies can be employed to improve the performances of biocatalytic processes such as enzyme engineering, enzyme immobilization, and flow biocatalysis.
More recently, inspired by Nature, the design of multistep biocatalytic processes, both in vivo and in vitro, is rapidly developing.
The present Research Topic reflecting the multidisciplinary character of the field aims to cover different aspects of biocatalysis including synthetic chemistry, microbiology, biotechnology, molecular biology. In particular, we encourage the submission of Original Research articles, Brief Research Reports, Perspectives, and Reviews dealing with the following areas of research:
· Biocatalytic processes using whole-cells
· Biocatalytic processes using isolated enzymes
· Bio-prospecting of microorganisms for industrial enzymes
· Design and application of biocatalytic cascades both in vivo and in vitro
· Cell engineering for the development of non-native enzyme pathways
· Immobilized enzymes
Keywords: Biocatalysis, biotransformations, enzymes, whole-cell biocatalysis, biocatalytic cascades, process optimization
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