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, 26 (5), 457-70

Cold Active Microbial Lipases: Some Hot Issues and Recent Developments


Cold Active Microbial Lipases: Some Hot Issues and Recent Developments

Babu Joseph et al. Biotechnol Adv.


Lipases are glycerol ester hydrolases that catalyze the hydrolysis of triglycerides to free fatty acids and glycerol. Lipases catalyze esterification, interesterification, acidolysis, alcoholysis and aminolysis in addition to the hydrolytic activity on triglycerides. The temperature stability of lipases has regarded as the most important characteristic for use in industry. Psychrophilic lipases have lately attracted attention because of their increasing use in the organic synthesis of chiral intermediates due to their low optimum temperature and high activity at very low temperatures, which are favorable properties for the production of relatively frail compounds. In addition, these enzymes have an advantage under low water conditions due to their inherent greater flexibility, wherein the activity of mesophilic and thermophilic enzymes are severely impaired by an excess of rigidity. Cold-adapted microorganisms are potential source of cold-active lipases and they have been isolated from cold regions and studied. Compared to other lipases, relatively smaller numbers of cold active bacterial lipases were well studied. Lipases isolated from different sources have a wide range of properties depending on their sources with respect to positional specificity, fatty acid specificity, thermostability, pH optimum, etc. Use of industrial enzymes allows the technologist to develop processes that closely approach the gentle, efficient processes in nature. Some of these processes using cold active lipase from C. antarctica have been patented by pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries. Cold active lipases cover a broad spectrum of biotechnological applications like additives in detergents, additives in food industries, environmental bioremediations, biotransformation, molecular biology applications and heterologous gene expression in psychrophilic hosts to prevent formation of inclusion bodies. Cold active enzymes from psychrotrophic microorganisms showing high catalytic activity at low temperatures can be highly expressed in such recombinant strains. Thus, cold active lipases are today the enzymes of choice for organic chemists, pharmacists, biophysicists, biochemical and process engineers, biotechnologists, microbiologists and biochemists.

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