Many proteins, specifically enzymes, catalyze an assortment of industrial processes. The output of enzyme-promoted processes include high-quality foods, better medicines, softer and more absorbent textiles, improved leathers, inexpensive starting materials, and various remediated or recycled compounds. Despite the potential of enzymes to facilitate the development of environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative processes, most enzymes never enter the scope of industry for reasons related to poor reusability, instability, high effective cost, and inadequate operating range. Indeed, of the thousands of readily available enzymes, only a handful has survived the test of time when applied to industrial processes. Members of the Chemistry Group at SabanciUniversity have developed strategies to potentially yield enzyme preparations, which are chemically altered, inexpensive, longer-lived, more catalytic, more resistant to extreme environments, and more effectively stored, recycled and transported.
Using a novel chemical modification technique, several proteins derivatized in non-aqueous media were characterized at Sabancı University. The effect of various reactions and parameters on protein structure and function is being assessed and the potential merit of many modifications has been established in theory and practice.