The process of immobilization can be defined as “Enzymes physically confined or localized in
a certain defined region of space without hampering the enzyme performance and which can be
used in repetitively”. This is one of the most promising approaches for exploiting enzyme
based-processes in biotransformation, diagnostics, pharma and food industries.
Biocatalysts can be immobilized either using the isolated enzymes or the whole cells.
Immobilization often stabilizes structure of the enzymes, thus permitting their
applications even under harsh environmental conditions of pH, temperature and organic
Following methods are used in immobilizing enzymes/whole cells.
- Physical entrapment
- Micro encapsulation
- Covalent cross linking
Applications of immobilizing enzymes
- Industrial applications: Production of antibiotics, beverages, aminoacids etc.,
- Biomedical applications: Widely used in the diagnosis and treatment of many
- Food industry: Immobilized enzymes like pectinase and cellulases are used in
jams, jellies and syrups.
- Research: Horse radish peroxidase in blotting experiments, proteases in cell or
- Production of bio-diesel: from vegetable oils
- Waste water management: treatment of sewage and industrial effluents
- Textile industry: Scouring, biopolishing and desizing of fabrics
- Detergent industry: Lipase enzyme immobilized for effective dirt removal from
- CO2 capturing: Carbonic anhydrase
These are just few examples and the other enzymes will be added to list as required.
Applications of immobilizing whole cells
- Multiple enzymes can be introduced in one step
- Extraction and purification of enzyme is not necessary
- Native conformation of enzyme is best maintained
- Cost effective