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Different methods of preparing lipases for use in organic media are critically reviewed. Solid lipase preparations can be made by typical immobilisation methods such as adsorption, entrapment, covalent coupling or cross-linking. Immobilisation is especially attractive for lipases because, in addition to the normal benefits of enzyme immobilisation, it can also lead to a considerable increase in catalytic activity, probably caused by conformational changes in the lipase molecules. Activation can be achieved, for example, using hydrophobic support materials or surfactants during the immobilisation procedure. Surfactants can also be used to solubilise lipases in organic media via the formation of hydrophobic ion pairs, surfactant-coated lipase or reversed micelles. Lipase preparation methods are discussed with regard to potential lipase inactivation and activation effects, mass transfer limitations, lipase stability and other features important for applications. The practical applications of lipases in organic media reviewed include ester synthesis, modification of triacylglycerols and phospholipids, fatty acid enrichment, enantiomer resolution, biodiesel production and acylation of carbohydrates and bioactive compounds.