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Whole Cell Biocatalysts

For many biocatalytic processes, purified enzymes are the core of the machinery. Purification of enzymes is usually time-consuming and costly. Furthermore, enzymes usually require additional processing such as immobilization to improve the activity or stability. Different immobilization strategies need to be evaluated to determine the best solution.

The use of microorganisms, such as E.coli, as whole-cell biocatalysts is a convenient strategy to provide pre-immobilized enzymes. In this case, the enzyme acts in the natural cellular environment, which also protects the enzyme from destabilization and degradation. It avoids further laborious production and purification steps and allows repeated use in sequential reactions. To overcome restrictions such as accessibility of substrate and product and interference with other enzymes, surface-displayed enzymes are usually used in whole-cell biocatalyst systems.

Whole Cell Biocatalysts Figure 1. Schematic representation of anchor proteins for surface display used in biocatalysis in Gram-negative (a-c) and Gram-positive (d-f) microorganisms.
(Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2014)

Creative Enzymes offers professional services to eventually deliver whole-cell biocatalysts:

With decade-long experience on biocatalysis development and advanced technologies in molecular biology, Creative Enzymes would be happy to be involved in any step during development of whole-cell biocatalysts. Please contact us to get a complementary consultation session about your specific projects.

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Whole Cell Biocatalysts


  1. Madhavan, A., Sindhu, R., Binod, P., Sukumaran, R.K., Pandey, A. (2017) Strategies for design of improved biocatalysts for industrial applications. Bioresource Technology. 245: 1304-1313.
  2. Schüürmann, J., Quehl, P., Festel, G., Jose, J. (2014) Bacterial whole-cell biocatalysts by surface display of enzymes: toward industrial application. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 98: 8031-8046.
  3. Kuhn, D., Blank, L.M., Schmid, A., Bühler, B. (2010) Systems biotechnology - Rational whole-cell biocatalyst and bioprocess design. Engineering in Life Sciences. 10: 384-397.

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