Integrated reactor concepts for the enzymatic kinetic synthesis of cephalexin

C.G.P.H. Schroen*, V.A. Nierstrasz, R. Bosma, P.J. Kroon, P.S. Tjeerdsma, E. de Vroom, J.M. van der Laan, H.M. Moody, H.H. Beeftink, A.E.M. Janssen, J. Tramper

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Integrated process concepts for enzymatic cephalexin synthesis were investigated by our group, and this article focuses on the integration of reactions and product removal during the reactions. The last step in cephalexin production is the enzymatic kinetic coupling of activated phenylglycine (phenylglycine amide or phenylglycine methyl ester) and 7‐aminodeacetoxycephalosporanic acid (7‐ADCA). The traditional production of 7‐ADCA takes place via a chemical ring expansion step and an enzymatic hydrolysis step starting from penicillin G. However, 7‐ADCA can also be produced by the enzymatic hydrolysis of adipyl‐7‐ADCA. In this work, this reaction was combined with the enzymatic synthesis reaction and performed simultaneously (i.e., one‐pot synthesis). Furthermore, in situ product removal by adsorption and complexation were investigated as means of preventing enzymatic hydrolysis of cephalexin. We found that adipyl‐7‐ADCA hydrolysis and cephalexin synthesis could be performed simultaneously. The maximum yield on conversion (reaction) of the combined process was very similar to the yield of the separate processes performed under the same reaction conditions with the enzyme concentrations adjusted correctly. This implied that the number of reaction steps in the cephalexin process could be reduced significantly. The removal of cephalexin by adsorption was not specific enough to be applied in situ. The adsorbents also bound the substrates and therewith caused lower yields. Complexation with β‐naphthol proved to be an effective removal technique; however, it also showed a drawback in that the activity of the cephalexin‐synthesizing enzyme was influenced negatively. Complexation with β‐naphthol rendered a 50% higher cephalexin yield and considerably less byproduct formation (reduction of 40%) as compared to cephalexin synthesis only. If adipyl‐7‐ADCA hydrolysis and cephalexin synthesis were performed simultaneously and in combination with complexation with β‐naphthol, higher cephalexin concentrations also were found. In conclusion, a highly integrated process (two reactions simultaneously combined with in situ product removal) was shown possible, although further optimization is necessary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-155
    Number of pages12
    JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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