Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
It has been known for many decades that chiral compounds can be obtained by stereospecific biocatalytic reduction. Further significant methodological developments in this field have, however, only been made during the past ten years; they include the application of previously unused microorganisms and electron donors, the discovery of additional substrates for the known reductases, the development of methods for regenerating reduced pyridine nucleotides, and the discovery of new reductases which were sought for specific preparative purposes. Many chiral compounds can now be synthesized by microbial hydrogenation using H2 and hydrogenase-containing microorganisms as well as by electromicrobial or electroenzymatic reduction. In the two latter methods, anaerobic or aerobic organisms are supplied with electrons from electrochemically reduced, artificial mediators, e.g., methyl viologen. Reductases that do not require pyridine nucleotides and can accept electrons directly from reduced viologens are especially useful. Two examples of this type of enzyme are described which are of preparative interest. Many cells contain methyl viologen-dependent NAD(P) reductases, a large number of which have still not been characterized. A productivity number is proposed which allows different methods of bioconversion with microorganisms to be compared. The productivity numbers of compounds synthesized by the methods described in this review are often 10- to 100-fold higher than those of substances obtained by conventional techniques.
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