Enantioselective enzymatic synthesis of the α-hydroxy ketone (R)-acetoin from meso-2,3-butanediol.

S. Kochius, M. Paetzold, A. Scholz, H. Merkens, A. Vogel, M. Ansorge-Schumacher, F. Hollmann, J. Schrader, D. Holtmann

Acetoin (3-hydroxy-2-butanone) is an important flavour compound and is applied in cosmetics, pharmacy and chemical synthesis. In contrast to chemical syntheses or fermentations an enzymatic route facilitates enantioselective acetoin production. The discovery of a (S)-selective alcohol dehydrogenase enables a novel production process of (R)-acetoin from meso-2,3-butanediol. It was shown that the regeneration of oxidised nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is a key point in preparative application of dehydrogenases for the oxidative route. An electrochemical regeneration system was successful combined with the ADH catalysed reaction. Up to 48 mM (R)-acetoin was produced in the reaction system while productivities up to 2 mM h−1 were reached. The possibility to apply an electrochemical system in a semi-preparative synthesis will stimulate further research of electroenzymatic processes with oxidoreductases.

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