Practical methods for biocatalysis and biotransformations

Practical methods for biocatalysis and biotransformations

John Whittall and Peter Sutton

Chichester, UK: Wiley 2010 | 432 pp | ?95.00 (HB)

ISBN 9780470519271

Reviewed by Kirk Malone


This book follows the format of a previous publication series, Catalysts for fine chemical synthesis, and aims to provide the reader with enough information on biocatalysis to allow its wider application in chemical synthesis. 

It starts with a review of the current use of biocatalysis in the pharmaceutical industry. Although this is focused on a large pharmaceutical company (GlaxoSmithKline), it covers a wide variety of aspects of the industry and offers insightful comparisons of biocatalysis with ’traditional’ organic synthesis.

A subsequent overview of molecular biology is written in an accessible way to allow scientists from alternate disciplines to grasp the underlying science that is fundamental to biocatalysis. The remaining chapters of the book are a review of key biotransformations published in the literature in recent years, with aspects of the work discussed further by the original authors.

A wide range of topics are covered, such as kinetic resolutions, enzymatic selectivity and enzymatic oxidations/reductions. The format here consists of an outline of the reaction, followed by an extended experimental protocol, and would enable interdisciplinary scientists to assess and replicate the procedures.

The book is very comprehensive and covers most aspects of biocatalysis, from its definition to step-by-step experimental procedures, along with full references. I believe the book is worth recommending on the strength of the first chapter alone, whilst the later chapters could prove invaluable to researchers investigating challenging chemical transformations.