Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 2009, 74, 1195-1278
Published online 2009-08-26 11:02:21

Chiral aliphatic hydroxy compounds in nature: A review of biological functions and practical applications

Tomáš Mozga, Zbyněk Prokop, Radka Chaloupková and Jiří Damborský*

Loschmidt Laboratories, Institute of Experimental Biology and National Centre for Biomolecular Research, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5/A4, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic


Chirality is a phenomenon that pervades the life on the Earth and has a tremendous importance for our daily lives. Many pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food additives, pheromones, fragrances and cosmetics are chiral. Chiral compounds play an essential role in biological systems, mainly for chemical communication among living organisms, serving as sex pheromones, aggregation pheromones, alarm pheromones, trail pheromones, attractants or repellent agents. This review summarizes our current knowledge of the biologically relevant chiral aliphatic hydroxy compounds, which are divided into eight classes according to their chemical structure: primary alcohols, secondary alcohols, tertiary alcohols, glycols and diols, hydroxy ketones, hydroxy carboxylic acids, hydroxy carboxylic esters and hydroxy amines. Information on biological functions and practical applications is summarized for each class. This information could be of interest to chemists, biochemists, biologists and pharmacists. A review with 475 references.

Keywords: Alcohols; Drugs; Pheromones; Odours; Chiral compounds; Hydroxy compounds; Chemical communication; Enantioselective enzymes; Natural products; Chiral pool.

References: 475 live references.