Biotransformations of Substituted Phenylethanols and Acetophenones by Environmental Bacteria 

Edna Kagohara1, Vivian Helena Pellizari2, João Valdir Comasseto1, Leandro Helgueira Andrade1 and André Luiz Meleiro Porto1,3*

Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Biocatalysis, Institute of Chemistry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

2Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Institute of Chemistry of São Carlos, University of São Paulo, Av. Trabalhador São-Carlense 400, CEP 13566-590, São Carlos, SP, Brazil

Article history:

Received March 28, 2007
Accepted October 1, 2007

Key words:

oxidoreduction, bacteria, chiral alcohols, biotransformations


Whole cells of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria, isolated from polluted sediments in the Santos Estuary (Baixada Santista, São Paulo, Brazil), were able to catalyse oxidoreduction reactions with various substituted phenylethanols and acetophenones as substrates. A number of substituted phenylethanols were formed with high (>99 %) enantiomeric excess. The results of microbial oxidation of phenylethanols 2, 3, 5–7 by Acinetobacter sp. 6.4T and the reduction of acetophenones 1a–6a by Serratia marcescens 5.4T showed that the bacteria used as biocatalysts in this study present significant potential for exploitation in biotechnological processes. The reduction of prochiral acetophenones by Serratia marcescens 3.5T yielded optically active alcohols with 90–99 % enantiomeric excess, and Acinetobacter sp. 6.4T is a potential biocatalyst for the oxidation of alcohols.


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