Biocatalysis is the use of enzymes to catalyse specific chemical transformations on organic compounds. Enzymes are complex protein molecules which are produced by living organisms to catalyse the biochemical reactions required for life. Although enzymes are formed within living cells, they can continue to function as isolated catalysts.

The use of isolated enzymes and whole cells have been important for the food and drink industries where the production of, for example alcohol, bread and cheese is dependent on the effects of the enzymes. A key concept in organic synthesis is selectivity. There is a large range of selective organic reactions available for most synthetic needs. The ability of enzymes to perform very specific chemical transformations is making them increasingly useful in industrial processes - and are thus another important tool to deliver the desired product. Enzymes display three major types of selectivity’s:

  • Chemoselectivity;
  • Regioselectivity and diastereoselectivity;
  • Enantioselectivity.
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