Lipase can catalyze varieties of reactions at the interface of aqueous and organic phase. Among various alternatives to modify catalytic performance of lipase, the addition of surfactants, particularly nonionic surfactants, has been widely studied. Low concentrations of nonionic surfactants augment lipase catalysis; on increasing surfactant concentration, often the catalytic performance decreases. Mole ratio of water to (nonionic) surfactant also has a profound effect on lipase activity. Catalytic abilities of some lipases are either enhanced or reduced in the presence of all nonionic surfactants of the same type, whereas for some other lipases, nonionic surfactants of the same type have mixed effect. Nonionic surfactant even changes substrate specificity of lipase. Water-in-ionic liquid microemulsion involving nonionic surfactant often performs better than other systems in improving catalytic ability of lipase. Tween and Triton surfactants often enhance enantiomeric separation catalyzed by lipase. Nonionic surfactants significantly affect activities of immobilized lipase, being present either as a component during immobilization or as a component in reaction medium. Lipases coated with nonionic surfactants act better than reverse micelles and microemulsions containing lipase. Thus, nonionic surfactants help lipase catalyzed processes in various media to enhance production of useful compounds like flavor ester, structured lipids, optically pure compounds, and noncrystalline polymers.
Keywords: Biocatalysis; Enzymatic reactions; Immobilization; Lipase–additive interaction; Surfactant-coated lipase.
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