A Biocompatible Alkene Hydrogenation Merges Organic Synthesis with Microbial Metabolism

The metabolism of living organisms, such as microbes, is a powerful tool for producing small molecules directly from fermentations in an efficient and environmentally compatible manner. However, the potential of microbial metabolism would be dramatically boosted if ‘traditional’ organic synthesis could be efficiently combined with enzymatic methods in living organisms. Recently, the research group of Professor Emily Balskus, Harvard University (USA), described a novel approach to this problem and their subsequent successful effort to actually integrate a reaction from synthetic organic chemistry with the chemistry that happens in the biological realm for the purposes of small molecule synthesis.

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