Novel approach to quantify immobilized-enzyme distributions

J.L. van Roon, E. Groenendijk, H. Kieft, C.G.P.H. Schroën, J. Tramper, H.H. Beeftink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The quantitative intraparticle enzyme distribution of Assemblase, an industrially employed polydisperse immobilized penicillin-G acylase, was measured. Because of strong autofluorescence of the carrier, the generally applied technique of confocal scanning microscopy could not be used; light microscopy was our method of choice. To do so, Assemblase particles of various sizes were sectioned, labeled with antibodies specifically against the enzyme, and analyzed light microscopically. Image analysis software was developed and used to determine the intraparticle enzyme distribution, which was found to be heterogeneous, with most enzyme located in the outer regions of the particles. Larger particles showed steeper gradients than smaller ones. A mathematical representation of the intraparticle profiles, based on in-stationary enzyme diffusion into the particles, was validated successfully for a broad range of particle sizes using data for volume-averaged particle size and enzyme loading. The enzyme gradients determined in this work will be used as input for a physical model that quantitatively describes the complex behavior of Assemblase. Such a physical model will lead to identification of the current bottlenecks in Assemblase and can serve as a starting point for the design of improved biocatalysts that also may be based on intelligent use of enzyme gradients. (C) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-669
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • scanning laser microscopy
  • confocal microscopy
  • diffusion limitation
  • protein diffusion
  • methacrylate
  • acylase

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