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Enzyme chemists sniff the sweet smell of success
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A biocatalyst borrowed from nature could offer an efficient and environmentally friendly way to make an important set of industrial chemicals.
Esters are a family of organic molecules used in a broad range of applications, from flavours and fragrances to agricultural chemicals. The industrial processes used to make them require organic solvents, acid or base catalysts, and heat.
Many natural organisms make esters, but under much more sustainable conditions involving using enzyme catalysts in water at ambient temperature. However, previous efforts to adapt ester-forming enzymes for industrial use have met with limited success.
Now, seven researchers at the Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology in Thailand and a collaborator have shown that an alternative enzyme, carboxylic acid reductase, could be ideally suited to the task. Carboxylic acid reductase naturally produces aldehydes, but the researchers found it can be used to efficiently produce esters instead when a co-substrate was changed.
- Angewandte Chemie International Edition 60, 5749–5753 (2021). doi: 10.1002/anie.202013962
|Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Thailand||0.79|
|Burapha University (BBU), Thailand||0.14|
|National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand||0.07|