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.