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  6. Biotransformation!

Heme peroxidases comprise the classical ligninolytic peroxidases and the new dye-decolorizing peroxidases, while heme peroxygenases belong to a still largely unexplored superfamily of heme-thiolate proteins. Nevertheless, basidiomycete unspecific peroxygenases have the highest biotechnological interest due to their ability to catalyze a variety of regio- and stereo-selective monooxygenation reactions with H2O2 as the source of oxygen and final electron acceptor.

Flavo-oxidases are involved in both lignin and cellulose decay generating H2O2 that activates peroxidases and generates hydroxyl radical. The group of copper oxidoreductases also includes other H2O2 generating enzymes - copper-radical oxidases - together with classical laccases that are the oxidoreductases with the largest number of reported applications to date.

However, the recently described lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases have attracted the highest attention among copper oxidoreductases, since they are capable of oxidatively breaking down crystalline cellulose, the disintegration of which is still a major bottleneck in lignocellulose biorefineries, along with lignin degradation. Many of the above oxidoreductases have been engineered, combining rational and computational design with directed evolution, to attain the selectivity, catalytic efficiency and stability properties required for their industrial utilization.

The group of copper oxidoreductases also includes other H2O2 generating enzymes - copper-radical oxidases - together with classical laccases that are the oxidoreductases with the largest number of reported applications to date.

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However, the recently described lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases have attracted the highest attention among copper oxidoreductases, since they are capable of oxidatively breaking down crystalline cellulose, the disintegration of which is still a major bottleneck in lignocellulose biorefineries, along with lignin degradation.

Many of the above oxidoreductases have been engineered, combining rational and computational design with directed evolution, to attain the selectivity, catalytic efficiency and stability properties required for their industrial utilization. Indeed, using ad hoc software and current computational capabilities, it is now possible to predict substrate access to the active site in biophysical simulations, and electron transfer efficiency in biochemical simulations, reducing in orders of magnitude the time of experimental work in oxidoreductase screening and engineering.


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What has been set out above is illustrated by a series of remarkable oxyfunctionalization and oxidation reactions developed in the frame of an intersectorial and multidisciplinary European RTD project. The optimized reactions include enzymatic synthesis of 1-naphthol, hydroxyvitamin D3, drug metabolites, furandicarboxylic acid, indigo and other dyes, and conductive polyaniline, terminal oxygenation of alkanes, biomass delignification and lignin oxidation, among others. Based on extensive literature and patent research, this book is unique in arranging each process in a systematic way to allow for easy comparison.

Biotransformations: From Science to Industrial Application

All the chapters have been rewritten, with all the processes updated and more than 30 new processes added. Each set of data is accompanied by key literature citations, supported by flow sheets where available, reduced to their significant elements. In addition, an extensive index classified by substrates, products, enzymes, and companies provides direct access to each process, organized according to enzyme class.

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