Biocatalysis has emerged as an important tool in the industrial synthesis of bulk chemicals, pharmaceutical and agrochemical intermediates, active pharmaceuticals, and food ingredients. However, the number and diversity of the applications are modest, perhaps in part because of perceived or real limitations of biocatalysts, such as limited enzyme availability, substrate scope, and operational stability. Recent scientific breakthroughs in genomics, directed enzyme evolution, and the exploitation of biodiversity should help to overcome these limitations. As a result, we expect many new industrial applications of biocatalysis to be realized, from single-step enzymatic conversions to customized multistep microbial synthesis by means of metabolic pathway engineering.
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