Biocatalytic pathways for the synthesis of (-)-menthol, the most sold flavor worldwide, are highly sought-after. To access the key intermediate (R)-citronellal used in current major industrial production routes, we established a one-pot bienzymatic cascade from inexpensive geraniol, overcoming the problematic biocatalytic reduction of the mixture of (E/Z)-isomers in citral by harnessing a copper radical oxidase (CgrAlcOx) and an old yellow enzyme (OYE). The cascade using OYE2 delivered 95.1% conversion to (R)-citronellal with 95.9% ee, a 62 mg scale-up affording high yield and similar optical purity. An alternative OYE, GluER, gave (S)-citronellal from geraniol with 95.3% conversion and 99.2% ee.
- enzymatic oxidation
- enzymatic reduction