Hydroxynitrile Lyases: Biological Sources and Application as Biocatalysts

Martin H. Fechter and Herfried Griengl

Institute of Organic Chemistry, Graz University of Technology, Research Centre Applied Biocatalysis, Stremayrgasse 16, A-8010 Graz, Austria

Article history:

Received August 5, 2004
Accepted November 22, 2004

Key words:

hydroxynitrile lyases, oxynitrilase, biocatalytic cyanohydrin synthesis


We review the state of the art regarding the application of hydroxynitrile lyases to obtain, enantioselectively, (R)- and (S)-cyanohydrins of aldehydes and ketones. Special emphasis is given to recent preparative applications and to research for extending the number of plants serving as sources for the enzyme. Depending on the plant family, the mechanism of the enzyme-catalysed reaction can be different. A novel area of research is the consideration of evolutionary aspects on the basis of structure comparisons.


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