Biocatalysis in ionic liquids - Advantages beyond green technology

Seongsoon Park, Romas J. Kazlauskas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

594 Scopus citations


In recent years researchers have started to explore a particular class of organic solvents called room temperature ionic liquids - or simply ionic liquids - to identify their unique advantages for biocatalysis. Because they lack vapour pressure, ionic liquids hold potential as green solvents. Furthermore, unlike organic solvents of comparable polarity, they often do not inactivate enzymes, which simplifies reactions involving polar substrates such as sugars. Biocatalytic reactions in ionic liquids have also shown higher selectivity, faster rates and greater enzyme stability; however, these solvents present other challenges, among them difficulties in purifying ionic liquids and controlling water activity and pH, higher viscosity and problems with product isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003

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