Application 1002 Alginate bead encapsulated whole cells protected in rotating bed reactor

Efficient synthesis of chiral lactones by encapsulated cells in a rotating bed reactor

Whole cell biocatalysis is powerful, but not straightforward. One way of utilizing whole cells is to encapsulate them in a matrix such as alginate to make them easier to separate from a reaction mixture. However, alginate beads are not mechanically stable enough to be packed into columns and are easily destroyed in stirred tank reactors (STR). This makes enzyme recycling ineffective, at the same time as mass transfer limitations may prevail.

In this application note, the recycling of three types of enzymes immobilized in different ways was studied:

  • Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase (BVMO), calcium-alginate-encapsulated Escherichia coli whole cells with the cyclohexanone monooxygenase (CHMO) from Acinetobacter calcoaceticus NCIMB 9871
  • Candida antarctica lipase B (CalB), Novozyme 435
  • (R)-transaminase from Gibberella zeae

The breakdown of material was prevented by the use of a rotating bed reactor (RBR), protecting the beads from any mechanical damage. The mixing was enhanced and the mass transfer was greatly improved.

Recycling studies revealed that, for the transaminase reaction, the SpinChem RBR was superior:

  • RBR: 93% relative activity recovered
  • STR: 62% relative activity recovered

To ensure a properly gas-saturated reaction mixture, we recommend using a Gas Sparger.

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