The Synthesis of Chiral γ-Lactones by Merging Decatungstate Photocatalysis with Biocatalysis

Fatma Feyza Özgen, Alexandra Jorea, Luca Capaldo, Robert Kourist, Davide Ravelli, Sandy Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The implementation of light-driven catalytic processes in biocatalysis opens a golden window of opportunities. We hereby report the merging of photocatalytic C−C bond formation with enzymatic asymmetric reduction for the direct conversion of simple aldehydes and acrylates or unsaturated carboxylic acids into chiral γ-lactones. Tetrabutylammonium decatungstate (TBADT) is employed as the photocatalyst to trigger the hydroacylation of the starting olefins, yielding the corresponding keto esters/acids. Subsequently, an alcohol dehydrogenase converts the intermediate to the chiral alcohol, which undergoes lactonization to the desired γ-lactone. The photochemoenzymatic synthesis of aliphatic and aromatic γ-lactones was thereby achieved with up to >99 % ee and >99 % yield. This synthesis highlights the power of building molecular complexity by merging photocatalysis with biocatalysis to access high-value added chiral compounds from simple, cheap and largely available starting materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200855
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022


  • alcohol dehydrogenases
  • asymmetric reduction
  • C−C bond formation
  • decatungstate anion
  • photobiocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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