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Abstract

While belonging to the most fundamental functional groups, nitriles represent a class of compound that still raises challenges in terms of an efficient, cost‐effective, general and, at the same time, sustainable way for their synthesis. Complementing existing chemical routes, recently a cyanide‐free enzymatic process technology based on the use of an aldoxime dehydratase (Oxd) as a biocatalyst component has been developed and successfully applied for the synthesis of a range of nitrile products. In these biotransformations, the Oxd enzymes catalyze the dehydration of aldoximes as readily available substrates to the nitrile products. Herein, these developments with such enzymes are summarized, with a strong focus on synthetic applications. It is demonstrated that this biocatalytic technology has the potential to “cross the bridge” between the production of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, on one hand, and bulk and commodity chemicals, on the other.