Microgels for a combined enzymatic reaction and in situ extraction in liquid-liquid systems

Enzymatic catalyzed reactions enable promising process routes for enantiopure components. Shorter processing times, a reduced number of reaction steps, and a minimum amount of waste, due to the high selectivity of the enzymes towards the target molecule, are possible advantages. However, such reactions often suffer from equilibrium limitations and product inhibition.

In C5 we will tackle these limitations by coupling the reaction with a microgel intensified liquid-liquid extraction (investigated in the 2nd funding period). By immobilizing the catalyst inside the microgel the enzymatic catalyzed reaction is located at the liquid-liquid interface. This combination of microgels and enzymes offers the possibility to intensify the reaction due to direct supply of hardly water-soluble reactants to the catalytic active center, the in situ extraction, and the catalyst recycling.

To understand the different occurring effects and their interactions in the reaction-extraction system, we will investigate the fundamental phenomena across different scales. The distribution of enzymes embedded in the microgel and their activity as well as diffusional pathways of reactants inside the microgels will be investigated microscopically using superresolution fluorescence imaging techniques. Based on these results and in combination with reaction-kinetic and mass-transport measurements via single drop experiments, we finally aim at a continuous in situ extraction process.

Principle Investigators

Jupke, Andreas, Prof. Dr.-Ing.
AVT – Fluid Process Engineering
RWTH Aachen University
+49 241 80 95490

Wöll, Dominik, Prof. Dr.
Institute of Physical Chemistry
RWTH Aachen University
+49 241 80 98624