Combining Bio- and Chemo-catalysis for the Sustainable Production of Chemicals

Xiaohan Liu, Fabio Lorenzini, Andrew Marr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The combination of bio- and chemo-catalysis to form a single synthetic route is a powerful methodology for the improvement of chemical synthesis. The extreme methods of biocatalysis (whole cell and isolated enzyme) fulfill very different roles. Biocatalysis by isolated enzymes enables highly efficient chemical transformations of extremely high selectivity and low contamination; however, conditions and substrates are limited to a narrow range. Whole cell biocatalysis enables the conversion of crude substrates, such as those derived from biomass; however, the products tend to be impure and delivered in dilute aqueous solution. Chemocatalysis is a well-established technique, and the addition of chemical catalysis and chemocatalytic methods to biocatalysis enables synthetic chemists to avoid the shortcomings of a biocatalytic step. For example, in enzymatic catalysis the addition of a chemical catalyst can allow the conversion of a racemic alcohol to an enantiopure, instead of racemic, product. In whole cell biocatalysis chemical reagents can assist the separation, transformation, and further isolation of the functionality of interest. The cooperation of bio- and chemocatalysts enables sustainable production of chemicals that would be impossible using biocatalysis alone, while achieving selectivities and using substrates not currently possible with chemocatalysis alone.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Production of Bulk Chemicals: Integration of Bio‐, Chemo‐ Resources and Processes
EditorsMo Xian
Place of PublicationDordrecht, The Netherlands
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-7475-8
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-7473-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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