In a demanding commercial world, large-scale chemical processes have been widely utilised to satisfy consumer related needs. Chemical industries are key to promoting economic growth and meeting the requirements of a sustainable industrialised society. The market need for diverse commodities produced by the chemical industry is rapidly expanding globally. Accompanying this demand is an increased threat to the environment and to human health, due to waste produced by increased industrial production. This increased demand has underscored the necessity to increase reaction efficiencies, in order to reduce costs and increase profits. The discovery of novel biocatalysts is a key method aimed at combating these difficulties. Metagenomic technology, as a tool for uncovering novel biocatalysts, has great potential and applicability and has already delivered many successful achievements. In this review we discuss, recent developments and achievements in the field of biocatalysis. We highlight how green chemistry principles through the application of biocatalysis, can be successfully promoted and implemented in various industrial sectors. In addition, we demonstrate how two novel lipases/esterases were mined from the marine environment by metagenomic analysis. Collectively these improvements can result in increased efficiency, decreased energy consumption, reduced waste and cost savings for the chemical industry.
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