Because of their efficiency, selectivity, and environmental sustainability, there are significant opportunities for enzymes in chemical synthesis and biotechnology. However, as the three-dimensional active structure of enzymes is predominantly maintained by weaker noncovalent interactions, thermal, pH, and chemical stressors can modify or eliminate activity. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are extended porous network materials assembled by a bottom-up building block approach from metal-based nodes and organic linkers, can be used to afford protection to enzymes. The self-assembled structures of MOFs can be used to encase an enzyme in a process called encapsulation when the MOF is synthesized in the presence of the biomolecule. Alternatively, enzymes can be infiltrated into mesoporous MOF structures or surface bound via covalent or noncovalent processes. Integration of MOF materials and enzymes in this way affords protection and allows the enzyme to maintain activity in challenge conditions (e.g., denaturing agents, elevated temperature, non-native pH, and organic solvents). In addition to forming simple enzyme/MOF biocomposites, other materials can be introduced to the composites to improve recovery or facilitate advanced applications in sensing and fuel cell technology. This review canvasses enzyme protection via encapsulation, pore infiltration, and surface adsorption and summarizes strategies to form multicomponent composites. Also, given that enzyme/MOF biocomposites straddle materials chemistry and enzymology, this review provides an assessment of the characterization methodologies used for MOF-immobilized enzymes and identifies some key parameters to facilitate development of the field.
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