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Laccases as green and versatile biocatalysts: from lab to enzyme market—an overview

  • Brugnari, Tatiane1
  • Braga, Dayane Moreira1
  • dos Santos, Camila Souza Almeida1
  • Torres, Bruno Henrique Czelusniak1
  • Modkovski, Tatiani Andressa1
  • Haminiuk, Charles Windson Isidoro1
  • Maciel, Giselle Maria1
  • 1 Graduate Program in Environmental Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology, Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil , Curitiba (Brazil)
Published Article
Bioresources and Bioprocessing
Springer Singapore
Publication Date
Dec 18, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s40643-021-00484-1
Springer Nature
  • Review


Laccases are multi-copper oxidase enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of different compounds (phenolics and non-phenolics). The scientific literature on laccases is quite extensive, including many basic and applied research about the structure, functions, mechanism of action and a variety of biotechnological applications of these versatile enzymes. Laccases can be used in various industries/sectors, from the environmental field to the cosmetics industry, including food processing and the textile industry (dyes biodegradation and synthesis). Known as eco-friendly or green enzymes, the application of laccases in biocatalytic processes represents a promising sustainable alternative to conventional methods. Due to the advantages granted by enzyme immobilization, publications on immobilized laccases increased substantially in recent years. Many patents related to the use of laccases are available, however, the real industrial or environmental use of laccases is still challenged by cost–benefit, especially concerning the feasibility of producing this enzyme on a large scale. Although this is a compelling point and the enzyme market is heated, articles on the production and application of laccases usually neglect the economic assessment of the processes. In this review, we present a description of laccases structure and mechanisms of action including the different sources (fungi, bacteria, and plants) for laccases production and tools for laccases evolution and prediction of potential substrates. In addition, we both compare approaches for scaling-up processes with an emphasis on cost reduction and productivity and critically review several immobilization methods for laccases. Following the critical view on production and immobilization, we provide a set of applications for free and immobilized laccases based on articles published within the last five years and patents which may guide future strategies for laccase use and commercialization.

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