The commercial biocatalyst Novozym ® 435 was used for the kinetic resolution of (R/S)-ibuprofen through the
esterification with short chain alcohols (ethanol, 1-propanol and 2-propanol) in the absence of organic co-solvent. The
best enzymatic performance was obtained by employing ethanol as reagent and solvent. Due to the deleterious effect of
this alcohol on the integrity of the commercial biocatalyst previously reported different organic co-solvents (isooctane, nhexane,
carbon tetrachloride, ethyl acetate, acetonitrile and tetrahydrofuran) were screened in order to minimize the volume
of ethanol to be used. Thus, the effect of the chemical nature of the co-solvent on enantioselective esterification of
(R/S)-ibuprofen with ethanol was evaluated. The results show that the best performance was obtained with the reaction
system without co-solvent added. Additionally, this investigation demonstrated the need to address multiple physicochemical
properties of the solvents to analyze their effects on biocatalysis.
Keywords: Ibuprofen, Novozym435, Ethanol, Organic solvents.
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