This review covers recent examples of synthetic transformation of nitriles and amides by microbial enzyme systems. A variety of substrates and products involving enantiomerically enriched forms of chiral substances are referred to. The stereochemical course of enzyme-catalyzed hydrolysis is briefly commented on. Special emphasis is placed upon the range of functional groups that are acceptable by enzymes and/or survive under the transformation, as well as the advantages as a synthetic tool for conversion under mild conditions.
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