Two commercial proteases from Bacillus licheniformis (Alcalase 2.4 L FG and Alcalase 2.5 L, Type DX) were screened for the production of Z-Ala-Phe-NH2 in batch reaction. Alcalase 2.4 L FG was the most efficient enzyme for the C-terminal amidation of Z-Ala-Phe-OMe using ammonium carbamate as ammonium source. Immobilization of protease has been achieved by the sol-gel method, using dimethyldimethoxysilane (DMDMOS) and tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) as precursors (unpublished results). In batch production, about 95% of Z-Ala-Phe-NH2 was obtained at 30°C after 24 hours of incubation. Reproducibility of different batches of commercial Alcalase 2.4 L FG preparations was also investigated by evaluating the amidation activity and the entrapment yields in the case of immobilization. A packed-bed reactor (0.68 cm ID, 15.0 cm long) was operated successfully for the continuous synthesis of peptide amides. The immobilized enzyme retained the initial activity over 10 cycles of repeated use in continuous reactor at ambient temperature. At 0.75 mL/min flow rate of the substrate mixture, the total conversion of Z-Ala-Phe-OMe was achieved after 5 hours of substrate recycling. The product contained about 90% peptide amide and 10% hydrolysis byproduct.
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