We describe the development of biocatalysis for producing optically pure straight-chain (S)-epoxyalkanes using styrene monooxygenase of Rhodococcus sp. strain ST-10 (RhSMO). RhSMO was expressed in the organic solvent-tolerant microorganism Kocuria rhizophila DC2201, and the bioconversion reaction was performed in an organic solvent-water biphasic reaction system. The biocatalytic process enantioselectively converted linear terminal alkenes to their corresponding (S)-epoxyalkanes using glucose and molecular oxygen. When 1-heptene and 6-chloro-1-hexene were used as substrates (400 mM) under optimized conditions, 88.3 mM (S)-1,2-epoxyheptane and 246.5 mM (S)-1,2-epoxy-6-chlorohexane, respectively, accumulated in the organic phase with good enantiomeric excess (ee; 84.2 and 95.5%). The biocatalysis showed broad substrate specificity toward various aliphatic alkenes, including functionalized and unfunctionalized alkenes, with good to excellent ee. Here, we demonstrate that this biocatalytic system is environmentally friendly and useful for producing various enantiopure (S)-epoxyalkanes.
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