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Ene Reductase Enzymes for the Aromatisation of Tetralones and Cyclohexenones to Naphthols and Phenols

Ene reductases (EREDs) have great potential as oxidation biocatalysts, as demonstrated by their efficient conversion of a number of tetralones to the corresponding naphthols. Of 96 enzymes
tested, 57 were able to produce 2-naphthol in this way.
Further tests with substituted tetralones revealed typically high conversions up to >99%. The reactions were performed under mild conditions in aqueous buffer with only co-solvent, biocatalyst and
oxidation substrate required for conversion. Production of a methoxy-substituted naphthol was also successfully performed on a gram scale, with 91% yield. This methodology provides a new avenue to
produce substituted naphthols as valuable building blocks, with the possibility to extend the approach to the production of phenols also being demonstrated.

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