BB2460 Biocatalysis 7.5 credits


The course is about replacing chemical production methods with bio-based, where one of the aims is to achieve greater environmental sustainability. It is aimed to teach how enzymes are used in industrial processes for production of chemical products like fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other refined products. It provides an overview of the different enzyme classes coupled to the catalyzed chemical reactions and it describes stereochemistry and methods to optimize the stereochemical outcome. Several industrial processes are described as examples.

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Spring 19 for programme students

Spring 20 for programme students

Intended learning outcomes

After passing the course, the student should:

  • Be able to exploit and apply knowledge from basic biotechnology and chemistry courses to design environmentally sustainable enzymatic processes for industrial production of chemical products.
  • Be able to distinguish reaction mechanisms of enzymes from the different main classes and be able to decide which chemical reactions that enzymes from a certain class can exhibit.
  • Be able to explain and exemplify different enzyme-catalyzed processes for stereoselective chemical production.  For example, kinetic resolution, dynamic kinetic resolution, and stereoselective synthesis, and also be able to suggest strategies for optimization.
  • Recognize advantages and disadvantages of different reaction media for enzymatic reactions and be able to decide suitable reaction conditions in individual cases.
  • Be aware of the Swedish and foreign industry which uses enzymatic processes and be able to exemplify products and types of enzymes used.
  • Be able to incorporate research literature and be familiar with the search tools for electronic databases which are available at KTH.

Course main content

Fine chemicals, kinetic resolution & enzyme enantioselectivity, enzyme reaction mechanisms, Biocatalysis using hydrolases, oxidoreductases, lyases, transferases, isomerases och ligases, enzymes in organic solvents, enzyme engineering strategies, Biocatalysis in the pharmaceutical industry.



The course consists of lectures, exercises and a project assignment which includes searching for literature, labs and a seminar. The course’s lab portion is designed, planned and documented by the students themselves and is a part of the project assignment. The entire project assignment is presented in a seminar at the end of the course.


Admission requirements for programme students at KTH:
At least 150 credits from grades 1, 2 and 3 of which at least 100 credits from years 1 and 2, and bachelor's work must be completed.  The 150 credits should include a minimum of  20 credits of Chemistry, 6 credits of Biochemistry, Biotechnology or Molecular Biology.

Admission requirements for independent students:
A total of 6 university credits (hp) in Biochemistry, Biotechnology or Molecular Biology. 20 credits of Chemistry, Documented proficiency in English corresponding to English B.

Recommended prerequisites

Passed biotechnology courses at basic level, organic chemistry at basic level, and eligibility to study at the advanced level.


A complete list of scientific papers is presented at the start of the course.


  • LAB1 - Laboratory work, 1.5, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.5, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • ÖVN1 - Exercises and seminarium, 1.5, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Requirements for final grade

The requirement for a final grade is grade E or above on TEN1 and ÖVN1 and grade P on LAB1.

The final grade will be calculated from 75% based on the written examination and 25% based on the grade on the project assignment. If the written examination gave an F then the final grade is F independently of the grade of the project assignment. The grade on the project assignment can increase the final grade one step, not more.

The grade on the project assignment will not give a final grade lower than the grade on the written examination.

Offered by

CBH/Industrial Biotechnology


Per Berglund <>

Supplementary information

The course replaces BB2030. Students are required to sign up at least two weeks in advance for examination. The course is given provided at least seven students are admitted.


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2019.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.