• Biotransformation of polycylic aromatic compounds by fungi and an investigation into the oxidation of alkylbenzenes by Mortierella isabellina NRRL 1757

      Khan, Shaheer Hasan.; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 1985-07-09)
      Incubations of several polycyclic heteroaromatic compounds and two polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with a series of common fungi have been performed. The fungi Cunninghamella elegans ATCC 26269, Rhizopus arrhizus ATCC 11145, and Mortierella isabellina NRRL 1757 were studied in this regard. Of the aza heteroaromatics, only dibenzopyrrole gave a ring hydroxylated product following the incubation with C. elegans. From the thio heteroaromatics studied, dibenzothiophene was metabolized by all the three fungi and thioxanthone by C. elegans and M. isabellina giving sulfones and sulphoxides. Thiochromanone was metabolized stereoselectively to the corresponding sulphoxide by C. elegans. Methyl substituted thioxanthones on incubation with C. elegans produced oxidative products, arising from S -oxidation and hydroxylation at the methyl group. Of the cyclic ketones studied, only fluorenone was reduced to hydroxyfluorene and this metabolism is compared with that reported with cytochrome P-450 monooxygenases of hepatic microsomes. A series of para-substituted ethylbenzenes has been transformed stereoselectively to the 1-phenylethanols by incubation with M. isabellina. Comparisons of the enantiomeric purities obtained from products with their respective para substituent of the same steric size but different electronic properties indicate that the stereoselectivity of hydroxylation at benzylic carbon may be susceptible to electron donating or withdrawing factors in some cases, but that observation is not va lid in all the comparisons. The stereochemistry of the reaction is discussed in terms of three possible steps, ethylbenzene ---) 1-phenylethanol ---) acetophenone ---) 1-phenylethanol. This metabolic pathway could account for the inconsistencies observed in the comparisons of optical purities and electronic character of para substituents. Furthermore, formation of 2-phenylethanol (in some cases), l-(p-acetylphenyl)ethanol from p-diethylbenzene, and N-acetylation of p-ethylaniline was observed. n-Propylbenzene was also converted to optically active 1-phenylpropanol. Acetophenone, p-ethylacetophenone, and o(,~,~-trifluoroacetophenone were transformed to 1-phenylethanol, l-(p-ethylphenyl)ethanol, and 1-phenyl-2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, respectively, with high chemical and excellent optical yields. The 13 C NMR spectra of several substrates and metabolic products have been reported and assigned for the first time.