Molecule of the Month
August 2019
An Enzymatic Process for the Synthesis of Melatonin

To increase the uptake of biocatalytic processes by industry, it is essential to demonstrate the reliability of enzyme-based methodologies directly applied to the production of high value products.
Here, an ultra-efficient, and sustainable enzymatic platform for the multi-gram synthesis of melatonin (and analogues) was developed. The fully-automated process integrates biocatalysis and flow chemistry, maximizes the overall yields, and reduce reaction times (to 5 minutes!) bridging the gap between lab scale and industrial production.

This work was carried out in the group of Prof. Francesca Paradisi.


  • M. L. Contente, S. Farris, L. Tamborini, F. Molinari, F. Paradisi;
    "Flow-based enzymatic synthesis of melatonin and other high value tryptamine derivatives: a five-minute intensified process"
    Green Chem., 2019, 21(12), 3263-3266; doi:10.1039/C9GC01374A.
  • M. L. Contente, F. Paradisi;
    "Self-sustaining closed-loop multienzyme-mediated conversion of amines into alcohols in continuous reactions"
    Nature Catal., 2018, 1(6), 452-459; doi:10.1038/s41929-018-0082-9.