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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 697161, 6 pages
Research Article

Glycerol Carbonate: A Novel Biosolvent with Strong Ionizing and Dissociating Powers

School of Bioengineering, Jimei University, Xiamen 361021, China

Received 25 October 2011; Accepted 8 December 2011

Academic Editor: Ikuya Shibata

Copyright © 2012 Guangnan Ou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The activity of biocatalysts in nonaqueous solvents is related to the interaction of organic solvents with cells or enzymes. The behavior of proteins is strongly dependent on the protonation state of their ionizable groups, which ionization constants are greatly affected by the solvent. Due to the weak ionizing and dissociating powers of common organic solvents, the charge of the protein will change significantly when the protein is transferred from water to common organic solvents, resulting in protein denaturation. In this work, glycerol carbonate (GC) was synthesized, which ionizing and dissociating abilities were very close to those of water. Transesterification activities of Candida antarctica lipase B (CALB) in GC were comparable to those in water and remained constant during 4-week storage. Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyecs cerevisiae were cultured in liquid media containing GC with test tubes. In the medium containing low GC concentration, Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyecs cerevisiae grew well as in a medium containing no organic solvent, but, in the medium containing high GC concentration, the growth of Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyecs cerevisiae was suppressed. The results suggested that GC is a potential biosolvent, which has great significance to biocatalysis in nonaqueous solvents.