Switching Between Enantiomers by Combining Chromoselective Photocatalysis and Biocatalysis


Controlling the selectivity of a chemical reaction with external stimuli is common in thermal processes, but rare in visible-light photocatalysis. Here we show that the redox potential of a carbon nitride photocatalyst (CN-OA-m) can be tuned by changing the irradiation wavelength to generate electron holes with different oxidation potentials. This tuning was the key to realizing photo-chemo-enzymatic cascades that give either the (S)- or the (R)-enantiomer of phenylethanol. In combination with an unspecific peroxygenase from Agrocybe aegerita, green light irradiation of CN-OA-m led to the enantioselective hydroxylation of ethylbenzene to (R)-1-phenylethanol (99% ee). In contrast, blue light irradiation triggered the photocatalytic oxidation of ethylbenzene to acetophenone, which in turn was enantioselectively reduced with an alcohol dehydrogenase from Rhodococcus ruber to form (S)-1-phenylethanol (93% ee).


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Supplementary material

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PhotoCat-switching product SI