Isoelectrically trapped enzymatic bioreactors in a multimembrane cell coupled to an electric field: theoretical modeling and experimental validation with urease

Biotechnology and Bioengineering
F NembriP G Righetti


A novel type of immobilized enzyme reactor operating under an electric field is here reported: a multicompartment immobilized enzyme reactor (MIER). In this experimental set-up, the enzyme and zwitterionic buffering ions are trapped in between two isoelectric membranes, having isoelectric point (pl) values so far apart as to trap the enzyme by an isoelectric mechanism, while allowing operation at pH optima, even when the latter pH value is quite removed from the enzyme pl. As an example, urease (pl 4.9) is trapped between a pl 4.0 and a pl 8.0 membranes, thus permitting operation (via suitable amphoteric ions buffering at pH 7.5) at the pH of optimum of activity (pH 7.5). The charged product (ammonium ions) quickly leaves the enzyme chamber under the influence of the electric field, thus allowing sustained activity for much longer time periods than in conventional reactors. As an example, while in a batch reactor 90% of original enzyme activity is lost in 200 min, only 2% activity is lost in the same period in the MIER reactor. As an additional bonus, the MIER reactor allows conversion rates of approximately 95% in a wide range of substrate concentrations, whereas batch-type reactors rarely achieve better than 50% conversion un...Continue Reading


Jan 1, 1987·Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences·C K Lee, J Hong
Jan 1, 1987·Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods·P WengerP G Righetti
Oct 1, 1966·Analytical Biochemistry·G Gorin, C C Chin
Dec 1, 1994·Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology·Y Qin, J M Cabral
Feb 5, 1996·Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods·Marcella ChiariP G Righetti

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