Hydrocarbon synthesis via photoenzymatic decarboxylation of carboxylic acids

W. Zhang, M. Ma, M. Huijbers, G. A. Filonenko, E. A. Pidko, M. van Schie, S. de Boer, B. O. Burek, J. Z. Bloh, W. J. H. van Berkel, W. A. Smith, F. Hollmann

JACS, 141 (2019), 3116–3120 , doi: 10.1021/jacs.8b12282


A recently discovered photodecarboxylase from Chlorella variabilis NC64A (CvFAP) bears the promise for the efficient and selective synthesis of hydrocarbons from carboxylic acids. CvFAP, however, exhibits a clear preference for long-chain fatty acids thereby limiting its broad applicability. In this contribution we demonstrate that the decoy molecule approach enables conversion of a broad range of carboxylic acids by filling up the vacant substrate access channel of the photodecarboxylase. These results not only demonstrate a practical application of a unique, photoactivated enzyme but also pave the way to selective production of short alkanes from waste carboxylic acids under mild reaction conditions.

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