Cleaner, Less Expensive Amine Production

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PSU researchers and their collaborators have uncovered and engineered a new class of enzymes - the nitrile oxido reductases - that can aid in the chemical production of amines.
In today's society, chemical manufacturing industries are facing increasing demands to practice environmentally conscientious methods and processes.  Like all businesses, they also have a constant need to increase efficiency in their processes to maximize their bottom line.  These two factors, among others, are driving a rapid increase in the use of enzymes in important industrial chemical transformations.  Generally, enzymes possess exceptional catalytic efficiencies, operate under very mild conditions (room temperature, neutral pH, ambient pressure), exhibit high selectivity and specificity, and generate minimal waste.  As such, enzymes have the potential to favorably impact industrial chemical processes and provide an attractive alternative to traditional chemical synthesis.

Amines are chemicals which are manufactured by the ton on a daily basis and which are essential intermediaries for hundreds of important chemical processes.  The standard methods for producing amines require harsh reaction conditions and result in the generation of significant hazardous waste, and an enzymatic method could render the production of amines a far cleaner, safer, and less expensive process. 

With one issued patent already, this project in 'green' chemistry continues to engineer this class of enzymes towards clean and commercially relevant biocatalysts, and welcomes both academic and commercial partnerships.

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For Information, Contact:
Joseph Janda
Portland State University
Dirk Iwata-Reuyl
Valerie De Crecy-Lagard
Steven Van Lanen
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