Covalent Immobilization of Microbial Cells on Microchannel Surfaces
Microfluidic devices with integrated biological material have found many applications in analytics (e.g., protein and DNA analysis), biochemistry (e.g., PCR), and medical diagnostics (e.g., ELISA test). Recently they are also considered as promising tools for bioprocess development and intensification. In order to enable long-term biocatalyst use and to facilitate its separation from the product, immobilization within the microreactor is often preferred over the use of free enzymes or cells. Surface immobilization is frequently selected due to the very high surface-to-volume ratio of microfluidic devices that offers the possibility for high biocatalyst load and at the same time good biocatalyst accessibility. Moreover, such reactor design prevents the increase in backpressure, often encountered in packed-bed or monolithic microreactors.
Microbial cells are beneficial over the isolated enzymes in many biotransformations, especially in multistep syntheses and in cofactor-dependent reactions. Their immobilization within microreactors, especially made from disposable polymers, is of a big interest for analytical and synthetic applications.
This chapter describes procedure for immobilization of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells onto inner surfaces of microreactors made from various polymeric materials and glass. Cells could be immobilized in high densities and remain stably attached over several days of continuous microreactor operation.
Key wordsMicroreactors Microfluidics Microorganisms Immobilization Biocatalysis Whole-cell biotransformations Silanization
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