Urea hydrolysis by immobilized urease in a fixed-bed reactor: analysis and kinetic parameter estimation

Biotechnology and Bioengineering
H J MoynihanN H Wang


Urea hydrolysis by urease immobilized onto ion exchange resins in a fixed-bed reactor has been studied. A modified Michaelis-Menten rate expression is used to describe the pH-dependent, substrate- and product-inhibited kinetics. Ionic equilibria of product and buffer species are included to account for pH changes generated by reaction. An isothermal, heterogeneous plug-flow reactor model has been developed. An effectiveness factor is used to describe the reaction-diffusion process within the particle phase. The procedure for covalent immobilization of urease onto macroporous cation exchangers is described. Urea conversion data are used to estimate kinetic parameters by a simplex optimization method. The best-fitted parameters are then used to predict the outlet conversions and pH values for systems with various inlet pH values, inlet urea and ammonia concentrations, buffers, particle sizes, and spacetimes. Very good agreement is obtained between experimental data and model predictions. This immobilized urease system exhibits quite different kinetic behavior from soluble urease because the pH near the enzyme active sites is different from that of the pore fluid. This effect results in a shift of the optimal pH value of the V(max...Continue Reading


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