A Photo-Enzymatic Cascade to Transform Racemic Alcohols into Enantiomerically Pure Amines

The consecutive photooxidation and reductive amination of various alcohols in a cascade reaction were realized by the combination of a photocatalyst and several enzymes. Whereas the photocatalyst (sodium anthraquinone-2-sulfonate) mediated the light-driven, aerobic oxidation of primary and secondary alcohols, the enzymes (various ω-transaminases) catalyzed the enantio-specific reductive amination of the intermediate aldehydes and ketones. The system worked in a one-pot one-step fashion, whereas the productivity was significantly improved by switching to a one-pot two-step procedure. A wide range of aliphatic and aromatic compounds was transformed into the enantiomerically pure corresponding amines via the photo-enzymatic cascade.