Vegetables as biocatalysts in stereoselective hydrolysis of labile organic compounds

Bjorn Bohman, L. R. Cavonius, C. Rikard Unelius

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrolysis of labile esters of [small beta]-hydroxyketones has been performed with whole plant tissue from various vegetables. The pheromone 5-hydroxy-4-methyl-3-heptanone (1) was used as the model compound. Hydrolysis of acetates and benzoates of 1 was unsuccessful using normal conditions of ester hydrolysis, both by chemical hydrolysis and by the means of commercial lipases. When, however, whole cells of carrot, celery root, eggplant, parsley root, parsnip and potato were used as reagents, hydrolysis of the acetates was successful. At low conversion the hydrolysis was stereoselective and at total conversion virtually no formation of by-products was observed. The selectivity varied among the eight vegetables that were evaluated. Methods of preparation and substrate-to-plant ratio were examined. Furthermore, acetates and benzoates of three analogous compounds [5-hydroxy-3-heptanone (2), 5-hydroxy-5-methyl-3-heptanone (3) and 5-ethyl-6-hydroxy-4-octanone (4)] were hydrolyzed by potato and sweet potato to various degrees, indicating that the method is general for the mild and stereoselective hydrolysis of secondary [small beta]-alkoxy- and [small beta]-aryloxyketones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1900-1905
Number of pages6
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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