Background: Enzymes have applications in numerous biotechnological products and processes
that are commonly used in the production of food and beverages, cleaning supplies, clothing, paper
products, transportation fuels, pharmaceuticals, and monitoring devices. Enzymes, however, are optimized
to function under physiological conditions. Any change in reaction conditions results in their
activity as well as stability being compromised. Hence, most of the natural biomolecules are not suitable
for industrial applications. Modifications are required to develop efficient and successful reagents as per
demand. Protein engineering can be applied to cope up with these situations.
Methods: This review describes some of the novel uses/unusual properties of enzymes as biological
catalysts. It explains the different ways in which enzymes can be and have been used under non-native
conditions. Different strategies have been discussed regarding stabilization of enzyme as well optimum
conditions of its uses in different industries. The following patents databases were consulted: European
Patent Office (EPO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Patent scope Search International
and National Patent Collections (WIPO) and Google Patents.
Results: The review illustrates the width of the umbrella of applications covered by biocatalysts. Employing
the tools of solvent and protein engineering, viz. non-aqueous media, additives, immobilization,
mutagenesis, to name a few; biotechnology has been able to make enzyme catalyzed processes an essential
components of the industrialist's armoury.
Conclusion: The article lists a number of successful examples, both of patented technology as well as
biocatalysts which are currently being used in the industry, to highlight the accomplishments of technologies
which have been adopted till now for making enzyme technology industrially viable.