Biological Production Of Acrylamide

Acrylamide is produced industrially as a monomer for synthetic fibers, flocculating agents, etc. The conventional synthetic process involves hydration of the nitrile with sulfuric acid and/or the use of inorganic catalysts. The inclusion of the enzyme nitrile hydratase by Mitsubishi Rayon in an alternative route avoids several costly steps, was the first case of such a replacement, and is possibly the first use of biotechnology in the petrochemical industry.

Advantages of the bioprocess are that the production process is simpler and the reaction is carried out at ambient pressure and temperature; there is no need for a catalysis recovery and reactivation process; less energy is consumed; investment in equipment is lower; the production cost is also lower; and the high level of selectivity and low reaction temperature reduce the amount and range of by-products.

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