Valorization of Small Alkanes by Biocatalytic Oxyfunctionalization

Durga Mahor, Zhiqi Cong, Martin J. Weissenborn, Frank Hollmann, Wuyuan Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The oxidation of alkanes into valuable chemical products is a vital reaction in organic synthesis. This reaction, however, is challenging, owing to the inertness of C−H bonds. Transition metal catalysts for C−H functionalization are frequently explored. Despite chemical alternatives, nature has also evolved powerful oxidative enzymes (e. g., methane monooxygenases, cytochrome P450 oxygenases, peroxygenases) that are capable of transforming C−H bonds under very mild conditions, with only the use of molecular oxygen or hydrogen peroxide as electron acceptors. Although progress in alkane oxidation has been reviewed extensively, little attention has been paid to small alkane oxidation. The latter holds great potential for the manufacture of chemicals. This Minireview provides a concise overview of the most relevant enzyme classes capable of small alkanes (C<6) oxyfunctionalization, describes the essentials of the catalytic mechanisms, and critically outlines the current state-of-the-art in preparative applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • alkanes
  • biocatalysis
  • enzymes
  • oxidation
  • oxyfunctionalization


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