Friday, January 14, 2011

No. 227: Technology to make an enzyme remain active even after 80 times of usage (January 15, 2011)

JGC, JGS C&C, and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) jointly developed the technology to use an enzyme for more than 80 times. They fixed an enzyme in the self-developed material with lots of very small holes on the surface. The material is a sphere made up of particles of silica (silica dioxide) each of which is several tens of nanometers in diameter. Molecules of an enzyme get into the interspaces of the particles. The technology can be used for various kinds of enzymes because the size of the interspace can be adjusted by changing the diameter of the particle. The research team did a reaction experiment by fixing an enzyme that has the function to change the structure of amino acid on the self-developed material. The enzyme was as active as it was before the experiment even after it reacted with amino acid for 80 times. In addition, the enzyme got increased heat resistance. This technology can be used in the production of pharmaceuticals and chemical products, and it is helpful for cost reduction. Enzymes increase the efficiency of a chemical reaction, but they are disposable and not cost effective. Past technologies to fix an enzyme are liable to break particles and can be use only for limited kinds of enzymes.

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