Biocatalysis is catalysis in living (biological) systems. In biocatalytic processes, natural catalysts, such as protein enzymes, perform chemical transformations on organic compounds. Both enzymes that have been more or less isolated and enzymes still residing inside living cells are employed for this task.
The starting point will usually be a product, which can perhaps be produced by one of several possible biocatalytic reactions that convert suitable substrates to the desired product. One or more biocatalysts must be identified or developed, a process must be set up, and the resulting bioconversion will ultimately have to be economically feasible. The development of such a process requires the input of many different specialists. Limiting aspects of the biocatalytic process are improved in an iterative manner, gradually leading to an efficient industrial process.