Cooperative Chemoenzymatic Process for Dynamic Kinetic Resolution of Alkanes

Dr. Huimin Zhao from the University of IL has developed a new method for dynamic kinetic resolution of alkene reduction products. It involves a photocatalyst that induces isomerization of the alkene between both E and Z forms. This chemical catalyst operates cooperatively with an enzyme that selectively reduces one of the isomers into a chiral product. Through the continual isomerization followed by reduction process, theoretical yields of 100% with 100% enantiomeric excess can be achieved in this kinetic resolution compared to 50% before. This is the first and only example of a cooperative chemoenzymatic process beyond formation of alcohols and amines. This invention will be useful in creating large amounts of enantiopure compounds by simplifying syntheses, and also in increasing the diversity of structures that can be explored especially in the preparation of potential drug libraries.