Production of Fine Chemicals by (Bio)Transformation of Agro-Food Byproducts and Wastes

F. Molinari*, D. Romano, R. Villa, J. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Biocatalysis is nowadays an established technology for the production of chemicals. Biotransformations are performed under mild conditions and can be highly selective; in particular, stereoselectivity is a key issue in most of the bioprocesses developed for transformations of organic molecules. These processes must be associated with efficient and green techniques of extraction. Biocatalysts are currently employed for the production of products in different fields, such as pharmaceuticals or intermediates of their production (e.g., antibiotics, statins, and enantiomerically pure building blocks), fine chemicals (e.g., amino acids and vitamins), and food ingredients (e.g., sweeteners, lipids, and nutraceuticals). Methods based on biocatalysts can further broaden their applicability and meet criteria of sustainability if efficiently employed for the transformation of cheaply available agro-food wastes and surplus, such as starch, molasses, cheap proteins, and lipids. The application of recombinant technologies and protein engineering has dramatically widened the potential of biotransformations. Examples of classical and new biotransformations of agro-food wastes and surplus for the production of industrially relevant chiral molecules are reported; the improvements given by an integrated application of different strategies (molecular biology, extractive systems, immobilization, etc.) for the optimization of the bioprocesses are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Biotechnology and Safety
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780080885049
ISBN (Print)9780444533524
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2011


  • Agro-food
  • Biocatalysis
  • Biorefinery
  • Biotransformation
  • Enzymes
  • Fine chemicals
  • Microorganisms
  • Wastes

Cite this