Immobilized cell

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An immobilized cell is a cell that has been immobilized. Immobilized cells are used as biocatalysts.


Immobilized cells are an alternative to purified and immobilized enzymes and are used when purification of the enzyme is problematic or multiple sequential enzymatic reactions are required.[1] The immobilized cells are most often used in a bioreactor with continuous fluid flow.[2] In some cases, the substances used for immobilization are similar to those used in 3D cell culture.[3] For this, the reaction products must be isolated from the culture medium in the case of live immobilized cells, as opposed to isolation from a buffer in the case of dead immobilized cells. Compared to immobilized enzymes, immobilized cells are often less expensive because there is no protein purification to isolate the enzyme.[4] However, other enzymes are also present in immobilized cells, which can result in more undesirable reaction products.


  • G. Kumar, A. Mudhoo, P. Sivagurunathan, D. Nagarajan, A. Ghimire, C. H. Lay, C. Y. Lin, D. J. Lee, J. S. Chang: Recent insights into the cell immobilization technology applied for dark fermentative hydrogen production. In: Bioresource Technology. Vol. 219, November 2016, pp. 725-737, doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2016.08.065, PMID 27561626.
  • Jose M. Guisan: Immobilization of Enzymes and Cells. Springer Science & Business Media, 2006, ISBN 978-1-597-45053-9.
  • Viktor Nedovic: Applications of Cell Immobilisation Biotechnology. Springer Science & Business Media, 2006, ISBN 978-1-402-03363-6, p. 316.

Individual references

  1. V. Nedović, B. Gibson, T. F. Mantzouridou, B. Bugarski, V. Djordjević, A. Kalušević, A. Paraskevopoulou, M. Sandell, D. Šmogrovičová, M. Yilmaztekin: Aroma formation by immobilized yeast cells in fermentation processes. In: Yeast. Volume 32, Number 1, January 2015, pp. 173-216, doi:10.1002/yea.3042, PMID 25267117.
  2. Rene H. Wijffels: Immobilized Cells. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012, ISBN 978-3-642-56891-6, p. 45.
  3. D. Thomas, T. O’Brien, A. Pandit: Toward customized extracellular niche engineering: progress in cell entrapment technologies. In: Advanced materials. Volume 30, Number 1, January 2018, pp. , doi:10.1002/adma.201703948, PMID 29194781.
  4. C. M. Kisukuri, L. H. Andrade: Production of chiral compounds using immobilized cells as a source of biocatalysts. In: Organic & biomolecular chemistry. Volume 13, Number 40, October 2015, pp. 10086-10107, doi:10.1039/c5ob01677k, PMID 26366634.