Toxicity and Bio-Acceptability in the Context of Biological Processes in Ionic Liquid Media
In this chapter the use of ionic liquids (ILs) in a biorefinery has been evaluated from a green chemistry perspective. The environmental impact of ILs is assessed through presentation of research into IL toxicity and biodegradation. An analysis of IL toxicity is given and includes an evaluation of the toxicity of ILs towards acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Research into IL biodegradation is presented and contains a section detailing the design of an IL for increased biodegradation. Enzyme catalysis in ILs is discussed and includes guidelines for selecting a preferred ‘greener’ IL for enzyme catalysis. Enzyme compatibility, stability, activity and selectivity are all individually reviewed. Finally, a section on polymer synthesis from renewable materials, relating to use in a biorefinery, is discussed. This focuses on polymer synthesis in ILs, in particular enzyme-catalysed polymerizations and polyester synthesis.