12 Principles of green chemistry

Green chemistry is an approach designed to minimize the impact of chemistry on human health and the environment.

The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry listed below show how using enzymes instead of chemical catalysts leads to more sustainable processes that are safer, more energy efficient and less wasteful.

#1 Prevent Waste

Unlike harsh chemicals, enzymes are remarkably specific in their synthesis. No by-products are generated, and the enzymes themselves are completely biodegradable.

#2 Maximize atom economy

As the starting material is selectively converted into only the desired product, enzyme biocatalysis contributes to maximizing the atom economy of the overall process.#3 Design less hazardous chemical syntheses

Bio-transformations are mainly performed in water, or using Class 3 solvents, which implies a lower toxic potential compared to the use of chemical catalysts

#4 Design safer chemicals and products

Enzymes are per definition non-toxic, which means that using them to replace metal catalysts or toxic chemicals leads to a safer process with less waste.

#5 Use safer solvents and reaction conditions

As product transformations in water, or Class 3 solvents, can be performed under ambient/moderate temperature conditions, the use of biocatalysts carries little safety risk.

#6 Increase energy efficiency

Biocatalysts reduce both the number of synthetic steps, and the condition requirements for reactions with biocatalysts (no temperature/pressure requirements). Both lead to lower energy consumption.

#7 Use renewable feedstocks

Enzymes work well on a renewable starting material, as both are sourced from nature. The enzymes themselves are manufactured using large-scale fermentation with a microbial source a starting material.

#8 Avoid chemical derivatives

The unparalleled selectivity towards the desired end-product without the need for multiple protec- tion/deprotection steps, avoids the use of several chemicals, including any of their derivative steps.

#9 Use catalysts, not stoichiometric reagents

Enzymes are effective biological catalysts and a small amount of enzymes goes a long way. When immobilized in smaller granulates, their recyclability increases even further.

#10 Design chemicals and products to degrade after use

Enzymes are biodegradable so no additional effluent treatment is required.

#11 Analyze in real time to prevent pollution

High selectivity and no formation of by-products, prevent waste treatment and/or pollution.

#12 Minimize the potential for accidents

With the ease of handling, safe application and minimal exposure risks, biocatalysis also minimizes the risk of accidents compared to hazardous chemicals.

Get expert advice on how to get started on your biocatalysis transition

We’re happy to put you in touch with our industry experts for advice on optimizing your process or finding the right solution or sample to meet your needs. Book a no-obligation meeting with our experts today and let them help you to:

  • Identify the right products or product class for your biocatalysis applications
  • Get technical support related to screening and selection of relevant enzyme samples to be tested in new experimental applications
  • Demonstrate the financial and environmental benefits of transitioning from chemicals to biocatalysis
BioCatalysis experts

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