Biocatalysis Initiative Departments

What is biocatalysis?

Biocatalysis is the use of biological catalysts called enzymes to transform plant material into useful products. Plants themselves contain enzymes which convert carbon dioxide in the air to nutritious carbohydrates such as sugar and starch. Selected enzymes are typically used to reduce reaction time to a matter of seconds for biological transformations that might otherwise require several months to reach completion. And because they remain unchanged in the process, one enzyme molecule can be used to catalyze many transformations. Biocatalysis differs from standard industrial chemistry and chemical engineering in that the biochemical transformation of enzymes requires less extreme temperatures, requires little or no additional energy input, and produces less hazardous byproducts.