CELLULASE IMMOBILIZATION ON POLY(METHYL METHACRYLATE) NANOPARTICLES BY MINIEMULSION POLYMERIZATION

Abstract Cellulases are efficient enzymes for the conversion of cellulose into glucose. Their use in immobilized form enables them to be reused in successive cycles in many biotechnological processes. Unlike conventional methods of immobilization by covalent bonding, in miniemulsion polymerization the immobilization of enzyme and the synthesis of polymer nanoparticles (support) occur simultaneously. Based on these aspects, the immobilization of cellulose on poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanoparticles by miniemulsion polymerization was studied. The surfactant type (non-ionic and ionic) and latex pH showed great influence on cellulase activity. High activity values were obtained only when non-ionic surfactant (Lutensol AT50) and buffering agent (NaHCO3) were used simultaneously. MMA polymerization rate and final monomer conversion were not affected by the presence of cellulase. The maximum immobilization efficiency (60%) was obtained when 6 wt.% of cellulase was used and stable PMMA nanoparticles (133 nm) were obtained. The relative activity profile of immobilized cellulase, for pH as well as temperature, was similar to that reported for the free form. Immobilized enzyme keeps its activity throughout seven days when stored at 4 ºC and phosphate buffer pH 6.0. Based on the results obtained in this work, miniemulsion polymerization as a method for cellulase immobilization on PMMA nanoparticles showed to be a promising technique with high possibility of industrial application.