Factors relevant to the production of (R)-(+)-glycidol (2,3-epoxy-1-propanol) from racemic glycidol by enantioselective oxidation with Acetobacter pasteurianus ATCC 12874

Enzyme Microb Technol. 1994 Dec;16(12):1059-63. doi: 10.1016/0141-0229(94)90143-0.


Acetobacter pasteurianus oxidizes glycidol with high activity, comparable to the oxidation of ethanol. The organism has a preference for the S-enantiomer, and the kinetic resolution process obeys a simple relationship, indicating an enantiomeric ratio (E) of 19. The compound is converted into glycidic acid, although a transient accumulation of glycidaldehyde occurs initially. Determination of other parameters revealed a temperature optimum of 50 degrees C, long-term stability (cells in the resting state), and a pH optimum compatible with the chemical stability of glycidol. However, it was also noted that respiration rates decrease at concentrations of glycidol above 1 M. This is most likely caused by substrate inhibition of the glycidol-oxidizing enzyme, the quinohemoprotein ethanol dehydrogenase. Comparison with existing methods for enantiomerically pure glycidol production indicated a number of attractive points for the method described here, although definitive evaluation must await further studies on the long-term stability under process conditions, reusability of the cells, and the mechanism of glycidol inhibition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 1-Propanol / chemistry
  • 1-Propanol / metabolism
  • Acetobacter / metabolism*
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Biotechnology
  • Drug Stability
  • Epoxy Compounds / chemistry*
  • Epoxy Compounds / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Propanols*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Temperature


  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Propanols
  • 1-Propanol
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • alcohol dehydrogenase (acceptor)
  • glycidol