The Oxygen Dilemma: a severe challenge for the application of monooxygenases?

D. Holtmann & F. Hollmann

Monooxygenases are promising catalysts as they in principle enable the organic chemist to perform highly selective oxyfunctionalization reactions that otherwise are difficult to achieve. For this monooxygenases require reducing equivalents to reductively activate molecular oxygen at the enzymes' active sites. However, these reducing equivalents are often delivered directly or via a reduced intermediate to O2 (uncoupling) yielding hazardous reactive oxygen species and wasting valuable reducing equivalents. The Oxygen Dilemma arises from the monooxygenases' dependency on O2 and the undesired uncoupling reaction. With this contribution we hope to generate a general awareness for the Oxygen Dilemma, discuss its nature and some promising solutions.

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