Various furans are considered as valuable platform chemicals as they can be derived from plant biomass. Yet, for their exploitation, follow-up chemistry is required. Here we demonstrate that Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases (BVMOs) can be used as biocatalysts for the selective oxidation of several furans, including 5-(hydroxymethyl) furfural (HMF) and furfural. A total of 15 different BVMOs were tested for their activity on furfural, which revealed that most of the biocatalysts were active on this aromatic aldehyde. Phenylacetone monooxygenase (PAMO) and a mutant thereof (PAMOM446G
) were selected for studying their biocatalytic potential in converting furfural and some other furans. While BVMOs are usually known to form an ester or lactone as a ‘normal’ product by inserting an oxygen atom adjacent to the carbonyl carbon of the substrate, our results reveal that both biocatalysts produce furanoid acids as the main product from the corresponding aldehydes. Altogether, our study shows that BVMOs can be employed for the selective oxidation of furans.
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