Esterase plays a major role in the degradation of natural materials and industrial pollutants, viz., cereal wastes, plastics, and other toxic chemicals. It is useful in the synthesis of optically pure compounds, perfumes, and antioxidants. The potential applications of esterase with reference to agriculture, food, and pharmaceutical industries, are discussed in this review. Promising applications in this avenue can be supported by appropriate production strategies. © Springer-Verlag 2005.