Biocatalysis is a useful tool in the provision of chiral technology and extremophilic enzymes are just one component in that toolbox. Their role is not always attributable to their extremophilic properties; as with any biocatalyst certain other criteria should be satisfied. Those requirements for a useful biocatalyst will be discussed including issues of selectivity, volume efficiency, security of supply, technology integration, intellectual property and regulatory compliance. Here we discuss the discovery and commercialization of an l-aminoacylase from Thermococcus litoralis, the product of a LINK project between Chirotech Technology and the University of Exeter. The enzyme was cloned into Escherichia coli to aid production via established mesophilic fermentation protocols. A simple downstream process was then developed to assist in the production of the enzyme as a genetically modified-organism-free reagent. The fermentation and downstream processes are operated at the 500 litre scale. Characterization of the enzyme demonstrated a substrate preference for N-benzoyl groups over N-acetyl groups. The operational parameters have been defined in part by substrate-concentration tolerances and also thermostabilty. Several examples of commercial biotransformations will be discussed including a process that is successful by virtue of the enzyme's thermotolerance.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.