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.
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.