Due to their defined substrate and product specificity as well as high chemo selectivity, enzymes are important biocatalysts for synthesis of fine chemicals, aromatics and pharmaceuticals . Enzyme development is necessary when a certain industrial application demands a specific chemical conversion under mild reaction conditions.
There are two essential steps in enzyme development, which are handled at Fraunhofer IGB. First step involves identification of suitable enzymes or enzyme variants from nature. Second step aims for improvement of known enzymes through implementation of structural changes with directed evolution or rational design. Improving enzyme stability, activity or substrate specificity is commonly of interest for most technical applications. For this the enantioselectivity of an enzyme plays an important role to ensure the chiral purity of the desired reaction product. Also enzyme solubility after expression is an important target for optimization to enhance enzyme yields after purification and downstream processing.