Hydrolases in Organic Synthesis

U.T. Bornscheuer / R.J. Kazlauskas, 2nd edition, Wiley-VCH (2005)


Due to a major problem with MS Word® in the creation of the camera-ready version of the 2nd edition, the index of the printed book refers to wrong pages!

The correct index can be downloaded here (pdf).

Review of the 2nd edition by Per Berglund in ChemBioChem (pdf)


Preface to the 2nd edition

Over the decade, hydrolases have become key parts of the growing area of industrial biotechnology (Schmid et al., 2001; Shoemaker et al., 2003). We hope that the first edition of Hydrolases in Organic Syntheses contributed to this success. It was a key reference in our laboratories and an excellent starting point for new researchers in the field. For this success to continue, we felt that we had to keep it current with new developments in the area – directed evolution and protein design, dynamic kinetic resolutions, and the use of structures to explain selectivity.
Planning the 2nd edition presented a challenge – more than 900 publications in the area since 1999. We chose to focus on new areas, new insights, and new frontiers and not to focus on comprehensive lists of substrates. For this information, databases are more efficient than a book. We've added a new chapter on protein sources and optimization of biocatalyst performance for organic synthesis, an expanded chapter about directed evolution and a new chapter about catalytic promiscuity. In addition, we expanded sections dynamic kinetic resolution and immobilization and added new classes of hydrolases, such as haloalkane dehalogenases and organophosphorus hydrolases. In turn, we shortened some sections including a major shortening of the sections on lipid modification, which is of limited interest to organic chemists. These changes required a rearrangement of the book chapters. In addition, many sections contain minor updates.
We sincerely hope that these changes will extend and enhance the usefulness of this book.

1st edition (1999)

Preface to the 1st edition
Each traveller to a city seeks something different. One wants to see that special painting in the museum, another wants to drink the local beer, a third wants to meet a soulmate. Each organic chemist also seeks something different from the field of biocatalysis. One wants high enantioselectivity, another wants reaction under mild conditions, a third wants to scale up to an industrial scale. We hope this book can be a guide to organic chemists exploring the field of biocatalysis. Enzyme-catalyzed reactions, especially hydrolase-catalyzed reactions, have already solved hundreds of synthetic problems usually because of their high stereoselectivity.
The organization is aimed at the chemist ? by reaction type and by different functional groups. This information should help organic chemists identify the best hydrolase for their synthetic problem. In addition, we suggest how to choose an appropriate solvent, acyl donor, immobilization technique and other practical details. We hope that learning how others solved synthetic problems will generate ideas that solve the next generation of problems.
Although this book has more than 1 700 references, we might have missed important hydrolase-catalyzed reactions. The choices on what to include usually reflect our own research interests, but were sometimes arbitrary or even inadvertent.

Updates will be posted on our website:

For further information please contact:

What others think about our book:
Fritz Theil, Angew. Chem.: in German or in English (pdf)
Nick Turner, Org. Proc. Res. Develop. English (pdf)


Our new homepage is almost finished and this site will not be updated anymore.

In 2016, Uwe Bornscheuer has published News & Views articles in "Nature" and in "Nature Chem. Biol.", a "Perspectives" contribution in the journal "Science" and aresearch article in the journal "Nature Chem."

Johannes Kabisch (junior research group leader) has accepted a position as Junior-Professor at the TU-Darmstadt and Robert Kourist is now full Professor at the TU-Graz, congratulations!

Daniel Last (#51) has finished his PhD!

Uwe Bornscheuer has published his 25th contribution (an Editorial) in the top chemistry journal "Angew. Chem. Int. Ed."

Uwe Bornscheuer has received the "Stephen S. Chang Award" of the Am. Oil. Chem. Soc. (AOCS).

Our paper on the discovery of (R)-selective amine transaminases has been highlighted as "Best Design Concept" by Nat. Chem. Biol.

Author profile:

An author profile about Uwe Bornscheuer has been published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Bornscheuer
Institute of Biochemistry
Dept. of Biotechnology & Enzyme Catalysis
Felix-Hausdorff-Str. 4
D-17487 Greifswald/ Germany

+49 (0)3834-86-4367
+49 (0)3834-86-4391 (Secr.)
+49 (0)3834-86-794367