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Photobiocatalytic Decarboxylation for the Synthesis of Fatty Epoxides from Renewable Fatty Acids

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Photobiocatalysis: The synthesis of fatty epoxides from renewable fatty acids is achieved by using the photodecarboxylase from Chlorella variabilis NC64A (CvFAP) and four homologues. This work expands the known substrate specificity of the newly discovered photodecarboxylases for valorization of fatty acids in synthetic chemistry, offering a new catalytic methodology.


Fatty epoxides are unique building blocks in organic transformations and materials production; however, their synthetic methodologies are currently not accessible from renewable fatty acids. Herein, a photoenzymatic decarboxylation of epoxy fatty acids into fatty epoxides was demonstrated using fatty acid photodecarboxylase (FAP) from Chlorella variabilis NC64A (CvFAP). Various fatty epoxides were synthesized in excellent selectivity by wild-type CvFAP. The decarboxylation reaction was also achieved with four new FAP homologues, potentially suggesting a broad availability of the biocatalysts for this challenging decarboxylation reaction. By combining CvFAP with lipase and peroxygenase, a multienzymatic cascade to transform oleic acid and its triglyceride into the corresponding fatty epoxides was established. The obtained fatty epoxides were further converted into rather unusual fatty compounds including diol, alcohol, ether, and chain-shortened carboxylic acids. The present photobiocatalytic synthesis of fatty epoxides from natural starting materials excels by its intrinsic selectivity, mild conditions, and independence of nicotinamide cofactors.

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