Nature 409, 258-268 (11 January 2001) | doi:10.1038/35051736

Industrial biocatalysis today and tomorrow

A. Schmid1, J. S. Dordick2, B. Hauer3, A. Kiener4, M. Wubbolts5 & B. Witholt1


The use of biocatalysis for industrial synthetic chemistry is on the verge of significant growth. Biocatalytic processes can now be carried out in organic solvents as well as aqueous environments, so that apolar organic compounds as well as water-soluble compounds can be modified selectively and efficiently with enzymes and biocatalytically active cells. As the use of biocatalysis for industrial chemical synthesis becomes easier, several chemical companies have begun to increase significantly the number and sophistication of the biocatalytic processes used in their synthesis operations.

  1. Institute of Biotechnology, ETH-Hönggerberg , CH 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
    (e-mail: Email:
  2. Department of Chemical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180, USA (e-mail: Email:
  3. BASF AG, ZHF–B 9, D 67056 Ludwigshafen, Germany (e-mail: Email:
  4. Lonza Biotechnology R&D, CH-3930 Visp, Switzerland (e-mail: Email: )
  5. DSM Biotech GmbH, Karl-Heinz-Beckurtsstrasse 13, D 52428 Jülich , Germany (e-mail: Email: