Modeling the catalytic activity and kinetics of lipase (glycerol-ester hydrolase)

G.N. Demirer, Goksel Demirer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to design industrial scale reactors and proceises for multi-phase biocatalytic reactions, it is essential to understand the mechanisms by which such systems operate. To illustrate how such mechanisms can be modeled, the hydrolysis of the primary ester groups of triglycerides to produce fatty acids and monoglycerides by lipase (glycerol-ester hydrolase) catalysis has been selected as an example of multiphase biocatalysis. Lipase is specific in its behavior such that it can act only on the hydrolyzed (or emulsified) part of the substrate. This follows because the active center of the enzyme is catalytically active only when the substrate contacts it in its hydrolyzed form. In other words, lipase acts only when it can shuttle back and forth between the emulsion phase and the water phase, presumably within an interphase or boundary layer between these two phases. In industrial applications lipase is employed as a fat splitting enzyme to remove fat stains from fabrics, in making cheese, to flavor milk products, and to degrade fats in waste products. Effective use of lipase in these processes requires a fundamental understanding of its kinetic behavior and interactions with substrates under various environmental conditions. Therefore, this study focuses on modeling and simulating the enzymatic activity of the lipase as a step towards the basic understanding of multi-phase biocatalysis processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


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