New liquid supports in the development of integrated platforms for the reuse of oxidative enzymes and polydopamine production


Polydopamine (PDA), a bioinspired polymer from mussel adhesive proteins, has attracted impressive attention as a novel coating for (nano) materials with an adequate conformal layer and adjustable thickness. Currently, PDA is obtained from dopamine chemical oxidation under alkaline conditions, limiting its use in materials sensible to alkaline environments. Envisaging a widespread use of PDA, the polymerization of dopamine by enzymatic catalysis allows the dopamine polymerization in a large range of pHs, overcoming thus the limitations of conventional chemical oxidation. Moreover, the conventional method of polymerization is a time-consuming process and produces PDA films with poor stability, which restricts its applications. On the other hand, the main bottleneck of enzyme-based biocatalytic processes is the high cost of the single use of the enzyme. In this work, laccase was used to catalyse dopamine polymerization. To improve its performance, a liquid support for integrating the laccase and its reuse together with the PDA production and recovery was developed using aqueous biphasic systems (ABS). Firstly, dopamine polymerization by laccase was optimized in terms of pH, temperature and initial dopamine concentration. It was demonstrated that the highest enzymatic polymerization of dopamine was achieved at pH 5.5, 30 degrees C and 2 mg ml(-1) of dopamine. Then, ABS composed of polymers, salts and ionic liquids were evaluated to optimize the laccase confinement in one phase while PDA is recovered in the opposite phase. The most promising ABS allowing the separation of laccase from the reaction product is composed of polypropylene glycol (400 g mol(-1)) and K2HPO4. The polymerization of dopamine in ABS leads to a remarkable improvement of polymerization of 3.9-fold in comparison to the conventional chemical PDA polymerization. The phase containing the confined laccase was reused for four consecutive reaction cycles, with a relative polymerization of 68.9% in the last cycle. The results of this work proved that ABS are a promising approach to create a liquid support for enzyme reuse allowing the process intensification efforts. The use of biocatalysts in ABS emerges as sustainable and alternative platforms from environmental and techno-economic points of view.



subject category

Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology; Science & Technology - Other Topics


Magalhaes, FF; Pereira, AF; Freire, MG; Tavares, APM

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020, UIDP/50011/2020 and LA/P/0006/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC). AT acknowledges FCT for the research contract CEECIND/2020/01867. FM acknowledges the SPQ/FCT PhD grant (SFRH/BD/150669/2020). AP acknowledges the FCT PhD grant (2022/13247/BD).

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