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Institute for Commercialization

Lyophilizate of an enzyme and fumed silica for enzymatic catalysis in non-aqueous solvents

Reference Number: K 04-11

Inventors: Pfromm, Peter; Wuerges, Kerstin

Owner: Kansas State University Research Foundation

USPTO Link:7700312

Invention Summary

One of the most serious obstacles when using enzymatic catalysis in non-aqueous solvents is the low level of enzyme activity compared to using enzymatic catalysis in water. This process introduces a new way to prepare enzymes as a catalyst in non-aqueous solvents using fumed silica. The new process allows the preparation of a high-activity lyophilizate from aqueous buffer solutions for use in organic solvents. The process leads to enzymes that have more activity than when prepared with the conventional salt-activation method.


  • The new process allows for high-activity enzyme preparation to be made in a one step process

  • The use of only wet physical chemistry and conventional freeze-drying allows for simple adaptation to full scale

  • Fumes silica is a bulk product that is inexpensive, making this process economically viable

  • Fumed silica is stable, which makes storage a non-issue and it also does not interact with organic solvents and chemicals

  • The resulting products can be sold as “natural" products as compared to those made using chemical catalysis


The high-activity enzyme preparations could be used as biocatalysts for reactions in non-aqueous solutions. There are applications for such preparations in the flavor and fragrance industry, processing of natural and mineral oils, production of chiral and other pharmaceuticals as well as biodiesel manufacturing. There are also potential applications in several consumer products.