biocatalysis
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CT: The benefits of exquisite selectivity matched with mild conditions enable an entirely new and complementary approach to synthetic chemistry. Biocatalysis has developed enormously in the past decade and now offers solutions to many intractable chemical problems in the pharmaceutical, fine chemical and lower value industrial sectors. The science underlying these industrial developments is built around protein engineering. The 2016 GRC will focus on creativity, expanding both the underlying scientific developments as well as new process concepts for industrial implementation. Such creativity is also opening whole new fields such as biocatalytic retrosynthesis, enzyme cascades and systems biocatalysis. The 2016 GRC will again enable the very latest developments in biocatalysis to be discussed in depth, with a view to defining the future of this expanding field and identifying new applications.

S: GRC – https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=12255 (last access: 16 December 2016)

N: 1. From “bio-” (word-forming element, from Greek bio-, comb. form of bios “one’s life, course or way of living, lifetime” -as opposed to zoe “animal life, organic life”-) + “catalysis” (1650s, “dissolution,” from Latinized form of Greek katalysis “dissolution, a dissolving” (of governments, military units, etc.), from katalyein “to dissolve,” from kata- “down” (or “completely”); Chemical sense “change caused by an agent which itself remains unchanged” is attested from 1836, introduced by Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848)).
2. The use of biological systems or their components for chemical synthesis or transformation.
3. The aim of biocatalysis is to produce a wide variety of chemical substances efficiently in a single step by means of microorganisms or enzymes
4. The chemical reactions that one typically thinks of as being enzyme-catalyzed are biologically-related ones. Thus, biocatalysis includes the one-step enzymatic conversion to produce aspartic acid (a component of the non-caloric sweetener aspartame), the two-step oxidation of ethanol to acetic acid (vinegar can be made this way), and the multi-step brewing of beer (quite likely the oldest example of biocatalysis, with historical records dating back 6000 years!). But, biocatalysis can also be used to replace many traditional chemical catalysts, including catalysts that are toxic or contain chemical residues that pollute the environment.
5. The impact of biocatalysis in the future will be precisely this: the increasing ability to use enzymes to catalyze chemical reactions in industrial processes, including the production of drug substances, flavors, fragrances, electronic chemicals, polymers—chemicals that literally impact almost every facet of your life. In adopting biocatalysis as a mainstream technology for chemical production, we will be introducing a technology that is greener, reduces pollution and cost, and creates greater sustainability.

S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bio; http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=catalysis (last access: 21 December 2016). 2 & 3. TERMIUM PLUS – https://goo.gl/BWOuCf (last access: 16 December 2016). 4. SCS – http://www.bio-catalyst.com/hot-and-new-in-biocatalysis/biocatalysis/ (last access: 16 December 2016). 5. SCS – http://www.bio-catalyst.com/hot-and-new-in-biocatalysis/biocatalysis/(last access: 16 December 2016).

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CR: biotechnology, biomass fuel, renewable energy.