Genipin as An Emergent Tool in the Design of Biocatalysts: Mechanism of Reaction and Applications

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Genipin is a reagent isolated from the Gardenia jasminoides fruit extract, and whose low toxicity and good crosslinking properties have converted it into a reactive whose popularity is increasing by the day. These properties have made it widely used in many medical applications, mainly in the production of chitosan materials (crosslinked by this reactive), biological scaffolds for tissue engineering, and nanoparticles of chitosan and nanogels of proteins for controlled drug delivery, the genipin crosslinking being a key point to strengthen the stability of these materials. This review is focused on the mechanism of reaction of this reagent and its use in the design of biocatalysts, where genipin plays a double role, as a support activating agent and as inter- or intramolecular crosslinker. Its low toxicity makes this compound an ideal alterative to glutaraldehyde in these processes. Moreover, in some cases the features of the biocatalysts prepared using genipin surpassed those of the biocatalysts prepared using other standard crosslinkers, even disregarding toxicity. In this way, genipin is a very promising reagent in the design of biocatalysts.