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Keywords:

  • asymmetric syntheses;
  • (S)-cyanohydrins;
  • enzymatic catalysis;
  • lyases
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The cassava species Manihot esculenta provided the first recombinant hydroxynitrile lyase (MeHNL) that became accessible by overexpression in E. coli. This MeHNL catalyzes the enantioselective addition of HCN (depicted below) not only to aliphatic, aromatic, and heteroaromatic aldehydes, but also to ketones to give (S)-cyanohydrins in high optical yields. R [DOUBLE BOND] alkyl, aryl, heteroaryl; R1 [DOUBLE BOND] H, CH3.