Biocatalysts for methane conversion: big progress on breaking a small substrate

Thomas J. Lawton, Amy C. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Nature utilizes two groups of enzymes to catalyze methane conversions, methyl-coenzyme M reductases (MCRs) and methane monooxygenases (MMOs). These enzymes have been difficult to incorporate into industrial processes due to their complexity, poor stability, and lack of recombinant tractability. Despite these issues, new ways of preparing and stabilizing these enzymes have recently been discovered, and new mechanistic insight into how MCRs and MMOs break the C–H bond in nature's most inert hydrocarbon have been obtained. This review focuses on recent findings in the methane biocatalysis field, and discusses the impact of these finding on designing MMO and MCR-based biotechnologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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