The redox equilibrium between alcohol - carbonyl groups is greatly used by enzymes and chemists to prepare useful compounds. Carbonyls are often intermediate groups whose reactivity can be used to synthesize complex structures; in contrast, alcohols are more easily found in the products of interest because their coordinative ability is used both in biology and in chemistry. Dehydrogenase activities are an interesting alternative to chemical redox reactants because they are often chemo-, regio-, and stereo-selective. These enzymes allow for two different uses: direct, as racemates resolving agents; inverse, as enantioselective reducing agents. We will focus on their use as oxidative agents, considering both the well-known alcohol dehydrogenases and the less known and less used 1,2-diol dehydrogenases. An account of both classes will be presented.
Keywords: Chiral alcohols, chiral 1,2-diols, enzymatic methods, alcohol oxidation, dehydrogenases, racemate resolution
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