Preparation of both enantiomers of methyl 3-benzoyloxypentanoate by enzyme-catalysed hydrolysis of corresponding racemic nitrile and amide

Masahiro Yokoyama, Nori Imai, Takeshi Sugai, Hiromichi Ohta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Rhodococcus rhodochrous IFO 15564 enantioselectively hydrolysed racemic 3-benzoyloxypentanenitrile and 3-benzoyloxypentanamide to afford (R)-amide and (S)-carboxylic acid with high enantiomeric excess (> 90%). In this reaction, both enantiomers of the starting nitrile were converted to the amide by nitrile hydratase, and amidase-catalysed enantioselective hydrolysis of the amide was responsible for the kinetic resolution. The lack of enantioselectivity of the nitrile hydratase toward the racemic nitrile forms a marked contrast to the case of previously reported highly enantioselective conversion of prochiral 3-benzoyloxypentanedinitrile by this enzyme. Since (R)-amide could be hydrolysed chemically to (R)-carboxylic acid without any loss of its ee, the present microbial kinetic resolution serves as an effective method for preparing both enantiomers of synthetically useful 3-hydroxypentanoic acid derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic
Issue number3-6
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Jun



  • 3-Hydroxypentanoate derivatives
  • Amidase
  • Kinetic resolution
  • Nitrile hydratase
  • Rhodococcus rhodochrous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

Cite this