Developing Enzyme Immobilization with Fibrous Membranes: Longevity and Characterization Considerations
[Review of ]. MEMBRANES, 13(5).
Fibrous membranes offer broad opportunities to deploy immobilized enzymes in new reactor and application designs, including multiphase continuous flow-through reactions. Enzyme immobilization is a technology strategy that simplifies the separation of otherwise soluble catalytic proteins from liquid reaction media and imparts stabilization and performance enhancement. Flexible immobilization matrices made from fibers have versatile physical attributes, such as high surface area, light weight, and controllable porosity, which give them membrane-like characteristics, while simultaneously providing good mechanical properties for creating functional filters, sensors, scaffolds, and other interface-active biocatalytic materials. This review examines immobilization strategies for enzymes on fibrous membrane-like polymeric supports involving all three fundamental mechanisms of post-immobilization, incorporation, and coating. Post-immobilization offers an infinite selection of matrix materials, but may encounter loading and durability issues, while incorporation offers longevity but has more limited material options and may present mass transfer obstacles. Coating techniques on fibrous materials at different geometric scales are a growing trend in making membranes that integrate biocatalytic functionality with versatile physical supports. Biocatalytic performance parameters and characterization techniques for immobilized enzymes are described, including several emerging techniques of special relevance for fibrous immobilized enzymes. Diverse application examples from the literature, focusing on fibrous matrices, are summarized, and biocatalyst longevity is emphasized as a critical performance parameter that needs increased attention to advance concepts from lab scale to broader utilization. This consolidation of fabrication, performance measurement, and characterization techniques, with guiding examples highlighted, is intended to inspire future innovations in enzyme immobilization with fibrous membranes and expand their uses in novel reactors and processes.