Enzyme lipases play a major and important role as biocatalysts in biotechnology applications. Lipases are used in biotechnology applications such as synthesis of biopolymers, production of biodiesel, the production of pure pharmaceutical compound, agrochemicals and also flavour compound. For all these applications microbial lipases are produced in very large quantity by overexpressing the corresponding genes and also by understanding molecular mechanism involved in their secretion and also folding. The optimization of production of lipases is done by direct evolution.

New biopolymers:

Biopolymers such as polyphenols, polysaccharides and poly-esters have a considerable degree of complexity, diversity and all these compounds are getting more and more attention because of their biodegradable nature. These biopolymers are synthesized using renewable natural resources. Enzyme lipases and sterases are used as biocatalysts in the production of these biopolymers, as they have got the advantages like high selectivity under mild reaction conditions. A combination of strategies is used to isolate these novel polyesters. Structurally complex monomers with multifunctional reactive groups were polymerized in high-throughput enzymatic catalysis reaction using commercially available lipases. These lipases are isolated from many different sources.

Lipase-catalysed polymer libraries are designed by using the free combination of diester and diol monomers, in different reaction conditions and also by using lipases from various different resources. In the same way, polyester libraries in 96 deep-well plates were also designed and generated in a rapid and also systematic manner.


An alternative and also environment friendly source of energy for public transport is so-called biodiesel. This has been produced chemically using oil as raw material from various plant sources, for example rapseed. Biodiesel source of energy originates from renewable natural resources and this in turn concomitantly reduces sulphur oxide production. The conversion of vegetable oil into methyl- or other short-chain alcohol esters can be catalysed using lipases in organic solvents in a single transesterification reaction. However, the large scale industrial production of biodiesel is failed so far because of the high cost of the biocatalysts. Two strategies were used recently to solve this problem, such as immobilisation of P. fluorescents lipase increases its stability and also can be used repeatedly, and cytoplasmic over expression of Rhizopus oryzae lipase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae with subsequent freeze-thawing and along with air drying resulted in a whole-cell biocatalyst, which can be used in catalysing methanolysis in a solvent-free reaction system.

Synthesis of Fine Chemicals:

Key or important intermediates in the synthesis of therapeutics, agrochemicals and also flavour compounds are usually complex compounds and which are difficult to synthesise with normal chemical methods. Also only one out of two drug enatiomers is pharmaceutically active, synthesis of enatiopure key intermediates is an important task for the pharma industry. This is a done by using lipases enzyme to catalyse the reactions. Several new therapeutics are being synthesised by using lipase-catalysed enantio selective reactions. For example

a. Pseudomonas AK lipase is being used to synthesise chiral intermediates during the total synthesis of the potent antitumor agent known as epothilone A4.

b. Candida rugosalipase are being used in catalysing the enzymatic resolution of the antimicrobial compound elvirol and also their derivatives curcuphenol 8. These compounds show antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and also Vibrio anguillarum.


Lipases are also used in the production of agrochemicals such as herbicides. For example lipases are used in the production of enan-tiopure (S)-indanofan, a novel herbicide which can be used against grass weeds in paddy fields. Only the (S)-enatiomer shows the herbicidal activity, therefore which is now synthesised in large quantity by combining lipase-catalysed enzymatic resolution and chemical inversion techniques. The diastereomers of 4-hydroxyproline is an important chemical compound which can be used in the production of different agrochemical and pharmaceutical compounds. Among 43 different commercial lipases Candida antarctica lipase B can be used as effective biocatalyst for the enantioselective hydrolysis of racemic 4-oxo-1,2-pyrrolidine dicarboxylic acid dimethylesters.

Cosmetics and flavours:

Lipases are being used as biocatalysts in the production of many different cosmetic and also flavour compounds. Lipase-assisted synthesis of menthol is an important example. A new novel way is used to isolate enatiomerically pure menthol ester is done by using Burkholderia cepacia lipase. The final product or compound menthyl methacrylate1 was then polymerised to use as a sustained release perfume.


Lipases enzyme have got many applications in biotechnology such as in the production of pharmaceutical compounds, cosmetic, flavouring agent, agrochemicals, biodiesel and biopolymer.

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