Light-controlled enzymatic synthesis of γ-CD using a recyclable azobenzene template

Juliane Sørensen, Emilie Ljungberg Hansen, Dennis Larsen, Mathias Albert Elmquist, Andreas Buchleithner, Luca Florean, Sophie R. Beeren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Cyclodextrins (CDs) are important molecular hosts for hydrophobic guests in water and extensively employed in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries to encapsulate drugs, flavours and aromas. Compared with α- and β-CD, the wide-scale use of γ-CD is currently limited due to costly production processes. We show how the yield of γ-CD in the enzymatic synthesis of CDs can be increased 5-fold by adding a tetra-ortho-isopropoxy-substituted azobenzene template irradiated at 625 nm (to obtain the cis-(Z)-isomer) to direct the synthesis. Following the enzymatic reaction, the template can then be readily recovered from the product mixture for use in subsequent reaction cycles. Heating induces thermal cis-(Z) to trans-(E) relaxation and consequent dissociation from γ-CD whereupon the template can then be precipitated by acidification. For this study we designed and synthesised a set of three water-soluble azobenzene templates with different ortho-substituents and characterised their photoswitching behaviour using UV/vis and NMR spectroscopy. The templates were tested in cyclodextrin glucanotransferase-mediated dynamic combinatorial libraries (DCLs) of cyclodextrins while irradiating at different wavelengths to control the cis/trans ratios. To rationalise the behaviour of the DCLs, NMR titrations were carried out to investigate the binding interactions between α-, β- and γ-CD and the cis and trans isomers of each template.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Science
Issue number28
Pages (from-to)7725-7732
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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