The role of biocatalysis in the asymmetric synthesis of alkaloids
Alkaloids are not only one of the most intensively studied classes of natural products, their wide spectrum of pharmacological activities also makes them indispensable drug ingredients in both traditional and modern medicine. Among the methods for their production, biotechnological approaches are gaining importance, and biocatalysis has emerged as an essential tool in this context. A number of chemo-enzymatic strategies for alkaloid synthesis have been developed over the years, in which the biotransformations nowadays take an increasingly ‘central’ role. This review summarises different applications of biocatalysis in the asymmetric synthesis of alkaloids and discusses how recent developments and novel enzymes render innovative and efficient chemo-enzymatic production routes possible.