From Multistep Enzyme Monitoring to Whole-Cell Biotransformations: Development of Real-Time Ultraviolet Resonance Raman Spectroscopy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Heidi Fisk
  • Yun Xu
  • Chloe Westley


Process analytical technologies (PAT) are used within industry to give real-time measurements of critical quality parameters, ultimately improving the quality by design (QbD) of the final product and reducing manufacturing costs. Spectroscopic and spectrophotometric methods are readily employed within PAT due to their ease of use, compatibility toward a range of sample types, robustness, and multiplexing capabilities. We have developed a UV resonance Raman (UVRR) spectroscopy approach to quantify industrially relevant biotransformations accurately, focusing on nitrile metabolizing enzymes: nitrile hydratase (NHase) and amidase versus nitrilase activity. Sensitive detection of the amide intermediate by UVRR spectroscopy enabled discrimination between the two nitrile-hydrolyzing pathways. Development of a flow-cell apparatus further exemplifies its suitability toward PAT measurements, incorporating in situ analysis within a closed system. Multivariate curve resolution-alternating least-squares (MCR-ALS) was applied to the UVRR spectra, as well as off-line HPLC measurements, to enable absolute quantification of substrate, intermediate, and product. Further application of hard modeling to MCR-ALS deconvolved concentration profiles enabled accurate kinetic determinations, thus removing the requirement for comparative off-line HPLC. Finally, successful quantitative measurements of in vivo activity using whole-cell biotransformations, where two Escherichia coli strains expressing either NHase (transforming benzonitrile to benzamide) or amidase (further conversion of benzamide to benzoic acid), illustrate the power, practicality, and sensitivity of this novel approach of multistep and, with further refinement, we believe, multiple micro-organism biotransformations.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12527-12532
Number of pages5
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number22
Early online date27 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2017