Microfluidic reaction devices are a very promising technology for chemical and biochemical processes. In microreactors, the micro dimensions, coupled with a high surface area/volume ratio, permit rapid heat exchange and mass transfer, resulting in higher reaction yields and reaction rates than in conventional reactors. Moreover, the lower energy consumption and easier separation of products permit these systems to have a lower environmental impact compared to macroscale, conventional reactors. Due to these benefits, the use of microreactors is increasing in the biocatalysis field, both by using enzymes in solution and their immobilized counterparts. Following an introduction to the most common applications of microreactors in chemical processes, a broad overview will be given of the latest applications in biocatalytic processes performed in microreactors with free or immobilized enzymes. In particular, attention is given to the nature of the materials used as a support for the enzymes and the strategies employed for their immobilization. Mathematical and engineering aspects concerning fluid dynamics in microreactors were also taken into account as fundamental factors for the optimization of these systems.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.