Enantioselective resolution of (±)-1-phenylethyl acetate by extracellular proteases from deep-sea bacterium Bacillus sp. DL-2

Chiral 1-phenylethanol and its ester derivative are important chiral chemicals in diverse industries and the preparation of those optically pure enantiomers is of great importance. One bacterium, Bacillus sp. DL-2, whose extracellular proteases could efficiently asymmetrically hydrolyse (±)-1-phenylethyl acetate, was isolated from the deep sea of the Western Pacific. After the immobilization of extracellular proteases and the optimization of enzymatic reactions, (R)-1-phenylethanol was prepared with the enantiomeric excess (e.e.) being 97% and the yield being 41%, respectively. The optimal resolution reaction condition for the preparation of (R)-1-phenylethanol using immobilized extracellular proteases was found to be 5-mM (±)-1-phenylethyl acetate, 360 mg/mL immobilized extracellular proteases, pH 6.5, and 20 °C for 2 h. (S)-1-phenylethyl acetate was generated through enzymatic kinetic resolution with the e.e. being as high as 99% and the yield being 71%, respectively. The optimal resolution reaction condition for the preparation of (S)-1-phenylethyl acetate was found to be 2.5-mM (±)-1-phenylethyl acetate, 440 mg/mL immobilized extracellular proteases, pH 7.5, and 35 °C for 10 h. Our report is the first report about the kinetic resolution of (±)-1-phenylethyl acetate using proteases and the enantio-preference of the proteases was found to be the same as those of most other esterases/lipases. Also notably, the optical purity of (S)-1-phenylethyl acetate generated through kinetic resolution using the proteases of Bacillus sp. DL-2 was the highest report so far. Proteases from deep-sea Bacillus sp. DL-2 are new contributions to the biocatalyst library for the preparation of valuable chiral alcohols and chiral esters through kinetic resolution.