The introduction of a hydroxyl group “biohydroxylation” in the steroid skeleton is an important step in the synthesis of new steroids used physiologically as hormones and active drugs. There are currently about 300 known steroid drugs whose production constitutes the second category within the pharmaceutical market after antibiotics. Several biotransformations at industrial scale have been applied in the production of steroid hormones and drugs, which have functionalized different types of raw materials by means of chemo-, regio-, and stereoselective reactions (hydroxylation, Baeyer-Villiger oxidation, oxidation reactions, reduction of group carbonyl, isomerization, and Michael additions, condensation reactions, among others). In Green Chemistry, biotransformations are an important chemical methodology toward more sustainable industrial processes.
Part of the book: Chemistry and Biological Activity of Steroids
Microbial-catalyzed biotransformations have considerable potential for the generation of an enormous variety of structurally diversified organic compounds, especially natural products with complex structures like triterpenoids, flavonoids, steroids, steroidal saponins, and sesquiterpenoids. They offer efficient and economical ways to produce semisynthetic analogues and novel lead molecules. Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi could catalyze chemo-, regio-, and stereospecific hydroxylations of diverse substrates that are extremely difficult to produce by chemical routes. During recent years, considerable research has been performed on the microbial transformation of bioactive compounds, in order to obtain biologically active molecules with diverse structural features. In green chemistry, biotransformations are an important chemical methodology toward more sustainable industrial processes.
Part of the book: Microorganisms