The synthesis of sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES) and the preparation of its membranes as matrix in the immobilization of Candida antarctica lipase B (Cal-B)


The immobilization of lipases is often used in biotechnology to improve the performance, reusability, and stability of the enzyme. Candida antarctica lipase B (Cal-B) has been used as a catalyst in trans-esterification reaction. To improve the utilization of Cal-B, therefore the immobilization of Cal-B onto a polymer matrix became crucial. In this study, polyethersulfone (PES) and sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES) membranes were used as matrices of Cal-B immobilization. SPES was previously synthesized by modifying PES using chlorosulfonic acid (ClSO3H) to improve the immobilization of Cal-B. SPES-PSf (polysulfone) blended membranes were also successfully prepared by blending SPES, PSf, and PEG in N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) as the solvent using phase-inversion method. The attenuated total reflectance (ATR)–FTIR spectrum showed characteristic peaks of the immobilized Cal-B on the matrix at peak 3184.03 cm−1 (–N–H bonds) and 1683.49 cm−1 (–CH deformation bonds). The Raman spectroscopy of the PES-based membranes before and after sulfonation reaction showed the deviations from the symmetrical structure of PES, with specific Raman shifts at 784.11 cm−1, 1150.95 cm−1, and 1588.9 cm−1. Cal-B was successfully immobilized and loaded onto SPES membrane. By Lowry assay, it was detected that 140.3 μg/cm2 enzyme was successfully loaded into the 17.3 cm2 of membrane. The value was one and a half times higher than PES (91.0 μg/cm2 in 17.3 cm2). However, the hydrolytic activity of Cal-B immobilized onto SPES membrane (17.0 p-NP/min/cm2) was five times lower than Cal-B immobilized onto PES membrane (80.4 p-NP/min/cm2).

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This research was funded by Decentralization Research Grant from KEMENRISTEKDIKTI (Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia) 2015–2016. Our gratitude goes also to Geological Research and Development Center (PPGL) Bandung for SEM analysis. We also thank Dr. Veinardi Suendo for the measurement of Raman spectroscopy in ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung).

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Correspondence to Khusna Widhyahrini.

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Widhyahrini, K., Handayani, N., Wahyuningrum, D. et al. The synthesis of sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES) and the preparation of its membranes as matrix in the immobilization of Candida antarctica lipase B (Cal-B). Polym. Bull. 77, 3735–3748 (2020).

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  • Synthesis
  • Polyethersulfone (PES)
  • Sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES)
  • Candida antarctica lipase B (Cal-B)
  • Immobilization