A Fed-Batch Synthetic Strategy for a Three-Step Enzymatic Synthesis of Poly-ϵ-caprolactone

Christian Scherkus, Sandy Schmidt, Uwe T. Bornscheuer, Harald Gröger, Selin Kara, Andreas Liese*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A three-step enzymatic reaction sequence for the synthesis of poly-ϵ-caprolactone (PCL) was designed running in a fed-batch operation. The first part of the cascade consisted of two oxidation steps starting with alcohol dehydrogenase catalyzed oxidation from cyclohexanol to cyclohexanone and further oxidation to ϵ-caprolactone (ECL) by means of a Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase. As a third step, lipase-catalyzed hydrolysis of the lactone to 6-hydroxyhexanoic acid (6-HHA) was designed. With this biocatalytic multistep process reported herein, severe substrate surplus and product inhibition could be circumvented by the fed-batch operation by adding the cyclohexanol substrate and by in situ product removal of ECL by hydrolysis, respectively. Up to 283 mm product concentration of 6-HHA was reached in the fed-batch operated process without loss in productivity within 20 h. After extraction and subsequent polymerization catalyzed by Candida antarctica lipase B, analysis of the unfractionated polymer revealed a bimodal distribution of the polymer population, which reached a mass average molar mass (Mw) value of approximately 63 000 g mol−1 and a dispersity (Mw/Mn) of 1.1 for the higher molecular weight population, which thus revealed an alternative route to the conventional synthesis of PCL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3446-3452
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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