CONTINUOUS FLOW ENZYME-CATALYZED POLYMERIZATION IN A MICROREACTOR
Santanu S. Kundu, Atul S. Bhangale, William E. Wallace, Kathleen M. Flynn, Charles M. Guttman, Richard Gross, Kathryn L. Beers
Enzymes immobilized on solid supports are increasingly used for chemical transformation because the process is greener and sustainable. Here we use microreactors to study enzyme catalyzed ring opening polymerization of -caprolactone to polycaprolactone. A novel microreactor design enabled us to perform these heterogeneous reactions in continuous mode, in organic media, and at elevated temperatures. Using microreactors we achieved faster polymerization and higher molecular weight compared to those of batch reactors. This is the first demonstration of a solid supported enzyme-catalyzed polymerization reaction in continuous mode. While this study focused on polymerization reactions, it is evident that similar microreactor based platforms can readily be extended to other enzyme-based systems, for example, high throughput screening of new enzymes and to precision measurements of new processes where continuous flow mode is preferred.