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Alex Cordellier

PhD Student

Alex Cordellier
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Project title:  Reaction engineering and up-scaling of light-driven in vitro oxidative lactonizations

Lactones represent an important class of substances used in a wide range of applications; however, their current chemical syntheses raise several issues of waste and energy management.

Biocatalytic approaches were developed employing oxidoreductases, namely alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs) to synthesize lactones starting from diols, using natural cofactors as redox mediators. For the in situ regeneration of these cofactors, different methods have been evaluated so far. Among these recycling strategies, the use of light as the driving force presents the advantages of being applicable in a broad range of reaction conditions and being an environmentally benign strategy with reduced waste generation and energy demand.

Starting from this “green” reaction system, the aim of the Ph.D study is to develop a highly productive photobiocatalytic process for the synthesis of both bulk and fine lactones. First, a rigorous evaluation of the reaction system, i.e. screening and optimisation of reaction conditions, will be realised to design a suitable reactor type and operation modus. A secondment at the University of Graz will focus on the optimisation of the process by screening different ADHs and evaluating techniques of enzyme immobilisation. The improved process employing immobilised enzyme preparations will then be assessed. The economic and ecological evaluation of the developed process will be performed during another secondment at the Technical University of Denmark. To finish, the up-scaling of the model system will be applied for fine lactone's synthesis during a third secondment with the industrial partner Chiracon GmbH (Germany).

Main supervisor: Associate Professor Selin Kara

Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kroutil, University of Graz, Austria

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ID: 129427725