A multicomponent reaction-diffusion model of a heterogeneously distributed immobilized enzyme

J.L. van Roon, M.M.H.D. Arntz, A.I. Kallenberg, M.A. Paasman, J. Tramper, C.G.P.H. Schroën, H.H. Beeftink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


A physical model was derived for the synthesis of the antibiotic cephalexin with an industrial immobilized penicillin G acylase, called Assemblase. In reactions catalyzed by Assemblase, less product and more by-product are formed in comparison with a free-enzyme catalyzed reaction. The model incorporates reaction with a heterogeneous enzyme distribution, electrostatically coupled transport, and pH-dependent dissociation behavior of reactants and is used to obtain insight in the complex interplay between these individual processes leading to the suboptimal conversion. The model was successfully validated with synthesis experiments for conditions ranging from heavily diffusion limited to hardly diffusion limited, including substrate concentrations from 50 to 600 mM, temperatures between 273 and 303 K, and pH values between 6 and 9. During the conversion of the substrates into cephalexin, severe pH gradients inside the biocatalytic particle, which were previously measured by others, were predicted. Physical insight in such intraparticle process dynamics may give important clues for future biocatalyst design. The modular construction of the model may also facilitate its use for other bioconversions with other biocatalysts
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-278
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • kinetically controlled synthesis
  • cephalexin
  • acylase

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A multicomponent reaction-diffusion model of a heterogeneously distributed immobilized enzyme'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this