Industrial Chemistry

Assembly Line

Assembly Line of Enzymes

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Industrial Chemistry, Immobilized Enzymes

🏢 Organizations: Cascade Biocatalysts


If we think about traditional industrial chemistry, it’s generally a collection of companies that form a supply chain where each company is specializes at doing specific reactions. For instance, ExxonMobil could extract and refine crude oil and pipe some naphtha distillate over to INEOS who turns that distillate into molten phenol and loads it onto a railcar. Westlake Epoxy might take those railcars of molten phenol and react it with acetone to make bisphenol A and then do a reaction with epichlorohydrin (purchased from Olin) to convert into an epoxy resin they can sell via bulk tank truck. PPG might buy that base epoxy resin and formulate it into an anti-corrosion coating used on the Verrazano Bridge in order to protect the steel from corrosion (not sure why anyone wants to intentionally go to Staten Island though). I just described the supply chain for anti-corrosion coatings, and it can span across the entirety of North America and at least 4 different companies.

The crux of Cascade’s technology is better enzyme immobilization that allows them to put a tiny perfectly folded protein that facilitates room temperature chemical reactions (that’s an enzyme) onto a mechanical support. Cascade views their technology, which is rooted in polymer science, as a “body armor” because it protects the enzyme from losing its shape (folding) and maintains the ability to facilitate chemicals reactions (activity) to the substrates they want to transform.

Read more at The Polymerist