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Enzymatic Catalysis at Nanoscale: Enzyme-Coated Nanoparticles as Colloidal Biocatalysts for Polymerization Reactions

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journal contribution
posted on 27.10.2017, 16:50 by Lucas Philipp Kreuzer, Max Julius Männel, Jonas Schubert, Roland P. M. Höller, Munish Chanana
Enzyme-catalyzed controlled radical polymerization represents a powerful approach for the polymerization of a wide variety of water-soluble monomers. However, in such an enzyme-based polymerization system, the macromolecular catalyst (i.e., enzyme) has to be separated from the polymer product. Here, we present a compelling approach for the separation of the two macromolecular species, by taking the catalyst out of the molecular domain and locating it in the colloidal domain, ensuring quasi-homogeneous catalysis as well as easy separation of precious biocatalysts. We report on gold nanoparticles coated with horseradish peroxidase that can catalyze the polymerization of various monomers (e.g., N-isopropylacrylamide), yielding thermoresponsive polymers. Strikingly, these biocatalyst-coated nanoparticles can be recovered completely and reused in more than three independent polymerization cycles, without significant loss of their catalytic activity.