Continuous two-phase flow miniaturised bioreactor for monitoring anaerobic biocatalysis by pentaerythritol tetranitrate reductase†
A novel continuous recirculating two-phase flow miniaturised bioreactor was developed for biocatalytic transformations with the enzyme pentaerythritol tetranitrate reductase using on-chip spectroscopic detection of the organic and aqueous phases. A phase separation technique is described that uses electrostatic attraction to force charged droplets to merge back into the aqueous phase and thus allow the monitoring of both reaction phases during enzymatic turnover. We report an increased rate of enzyme catalysed reduction of trans-2-(2-nitrovinyl)thiophene, which was used as a model system to demonstrate the principles of the bioreactor design, compared to conventional macroscale experiments. Additional data obtained with ketoisophorone, trans-cinnamaldehyde and 2-methylmaleimide support our findings and provide a basis for improving the chemistry of biocatalysis.