Organic Chemistry

Production of High Value Amine Intermediates via Biocatalytic Cascades in Continuous Flow


A key aim of biocatalysis is to mimic the ability of eukaryotic cells to carry out compartmentalized multistep cascades in a controlled and selective way. As biocatalytic cascades get longer and more complex, reactions become unattainable under typical batch conditions. Here a continuous flow multipoint injection reactor was combined with switching valves to overcome batch incompatibility, thus allowing for successful biocatalytic reaction cascades. As proof-of-principle, several reactive carbonyl intermediates were generated in situ using galactose oxidase and engineered choline oxidases, then passed directly to a series of packed-bed modules containing different aminating biocatalysts which accordingly produced a range of structurally distinct amines. The method was expanded to employ a batch incompatible sequential amination cascade via an oxidase-transaminase-imine reductase sequence, introducing different amine reagents at each step without cross reactivity. The combined approaches allowed for the biocatalytic synthesis of the natural product alkaloid precursor 4O-methylnorbelladine. The flow biocatalysis platform shown here significantly increases the scope of novel biocatalytic cascades, removing previous limitations due to reaction and reagent batch incompatibility.


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