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Caroline E.Paul's group

The team led by Caroline E. Paul in the Biocatalysis section at Delft University of Technology explores the synthetic potential of enzymes, specifically reductases, dehydrogenases and transferases via cofactor engineering, and also takes a retrosynthetic approach to produce valuable target molecules.

In particular, we have characterised and applied several key flavin-dependent monooxygenases and reductases in biocatalytic reactions to obtain high-value products with new C-O, C-N, C-C and C-halogen bonds: hydroxylases for selective aromatic hydroxylation, styrene monooxygenases for asymmetric epoxidation (with further nucleophilic reactions) and sulfoxidation, halogenases for selective halogenation, #ene reductases for asymmetric reduction of alkenes (including coupled to amine dehydrogenases to obtain chiral amines). These applications demonstrated the use of redox enzymes in industrially relevant chemical syntheses for fragrance and pharmaceutical industries. A recent example is on the synthesis of the (R)-citronellal, a precursor for (–)-menthol.

In W-Biocat, we are interested in aromatic reductions and together we will develop a platform technology to dearomatize aromatic compounds. The current state-of-the-art involves stoichiometric amounts of pyrophoric sodium in liquid ammonia for Birch reduction of arenes. With W-dependent Birch reductases, we will enable biocatalytic Birch reductions at scale to make our chemical industry safer.

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