Report on the Fourth Mitsui Chemicals International Symposium on Catalysis Science (MICS2009)

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Invited Lecture

Emeritus Prof. Bernard Witholt (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland)

Industrial Chemistry with Whole Cell Biocatalysts
Bernard Witholt

Emeritus Prof. Witholt is a pioneer in the field of biooxidation and biohydroxylation of organic compounds using microorganisms, and he has been developing biocatalysts harbouring oxygenases and reaction processes in nonpolar solvents. Oxygenase is a unique enzyme which catalyses oxygenation reactions, however, the industrial application of this enzyme is a challenge vis-a-vis other enzymes widely used in industry. The challenging feature of this enzyme is that electron donors are required, i.e. NADH or NADPH and its complex structure, and that it is difficult to apply this enzyme in vitro.

Emeritus Prof. Witholt has utilized gene recombination technology and optimized biocatalytic systems to successfully progress towards the economically feasible industrial application of the oxygenase reaction system.

In his lecture, he explained how reaction processes using biocatalysts had been developed and their contribution to Green Chemistry.

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