As environmentally benign "green" solvents, room temperature ionic liquids (ILs) have been used as solvents or (co)solvents in biocatalytic reactions and processes for a decade. The technological utility of enzymes can be enhanced greatly by their use in ionic liquids (ILs) rather than in conventional organic solvents or in their natural aqueous reaction media. In fact, the combination of green properties and unique tailor-made physicochemical properties make ILs excellent non-aqueous solvents for enzymatic catalysis with numerous advantages over other solvents, including high conversion rates, high selectivity, better enzyme stability, as well as better recoverability and recyclability. However, in many cases, particularly in hydrophilic ILs, enzymes show relative instability and/or lower activity compared with conventional solvents. To improve the enzyme activity as well as stability in ILs, various attempts have been made by modifying the form of the enzymes. Examples are enzyme immobilization onto support materials via adsorption or multipoint attachment, lyophilization in the presence of stabilizing agents, chemical modification with stabilizing agents, formation of cross-linked enzyme aggregates, pretreatment with polar organic solvents or enzymes combined with suitable surfactants to form microemulsions. The use of these enzyme preparations in ILs can dramatically increase the solvent tolerance, enhance activity as well as stability, and improve enantioselectivity. This perspective highlights a number of pronounced strategies being used successfully for activation and stabilization of enzymes in non-aqueous ILs media. This review is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to present a general overview of the potential approaches to activate enzymes for diverse enzymatic processes and biotransformations in ILs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry