Application of bio-based solvents for biocatalysed synthesis of amides with Pseudomonas stutzeri lipase (PSL)

Giulia Paggiola, Nolwenn Derrien, Jonathan D. Moseley, Anthony Green, Sabine L. Flitsch, James H. Clark, Con Robert Mcelroy, Andrew J. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bio-based solvents were investigated for the biocatalysed amidation reactions of various ester-amine combinations by Pseudomonas stutzeri lipase (PSL). Reactions were undertaken in a range of green and potentially bio-based solvents including terpinolene, p-cymene, limonene, 2-methyl THF, ɣ-valerolactone, propylene carbonate, dimethyl isosorbide, glycerol triacetate and water. Solvent screenings demonstrated the importance and potential of using non-polar bio-based solvents for favouring aminolysis over hydrolysis; whilst substrate screenings highlighted the unfavourable impact of reactants bearing bulky para- or 4-substituents. Renewable terpene-based solvents (terpinolene, p-cymene, D-limonene) were demonstrated to be suitable bio-based media for PSL amidation reactions. Such solvents could provide a greener and more sustainable alternative to traditional petrochemical derived non-polar solvents. Importantly, once the enzyme (either PSL or CALB) binds with a bulky para-substituted substrate, only small reagents are able to access the active site. This therefore limits the possibility for aminolysis to take place, thereby promoting the hydrolysis. This mechanism of binding supports the widely accepted ‘Ping Pong – Bi Bi’ mechanism used to describe enzyme kinetics. The work highlights the need to further investigate enzyme activity in relation to para- or 4-substituted substrates. A priority in PSL chemistry remains a methodology to tackle the competing hydrolysis reaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number0
Early online date19 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • amides
  • bio-based
  • biocatalysis
  • biocatalysts
  • enzyme catalysis
  • Fine chemicals
  • green chemistry
  • ICGC-8
  • organic synthesis
  • pharmaceuticals
  • solvents
  • sustainable chemistry


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