Fifty different hydrolases were screened for retention of high esterification activity in an organic solvent with citronellol as substrate. Although 22 hydrolases were very active as catalysts in the organic solvent, lipase from Candida cylindracea (lipase OF 360) was selected for further examination of the effects of reaction conditions on enzyme activity, with regard to catalyst availability and activity retention after immobilization. When the enzyme was entrapped in hydrophobic polyurethane gels, water-saturated isooctane was found to be the most suitable solvent, whereas polar solvents caused reversible catalyst inactivation. Entrapment significantly enhanced the operational stability of the lipase in the organic solvent.
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