A Pichia farinosa IAM 4682 mediated reduction of sulfur containing ketones afforded secondary alcohols with (R)-absolute configuration. For example, 4-(phenylthio)-2-butanone and 4-(phenylsulfonyl)-2-butanone afforded (R)-4-(phenylthio)-2-butanol (91%ee) in 90% yield and (R)-4-(phenylsulfonyl)-2-butanol (97%ee) in 94% yield, respectively. In the case that the ee of the product was not satisfactory, any contaminating (S)-enantiomer was selectively oxidized by Rhodococcus rhodochrous IFO 15564 to leave pure (R)-enantiomer. The substrate specificity of Pichia farinosa-mediated reduction and Rhodococcus rhodochrous-mediated oxidation was further examined.
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