Partnering opportunity

Method for biocatalytic production of aliphatic linear α,ω-dinitriles


A German university offers a new more effective method to produce aliphatic linear α,ω-dinitriles, in particular adipodinitrile. The method is less toxic and has better selectivity than the production technologies presently applied. Applications are in polymer chemistry. Industrial licensees are sought.

Partner sought

Industrial partners from the fields of white biotechnology, chemistry and process technology are sought for licensing. The partners would have the rights to use the method commercially in their processes. There are opportunities for further development regarding the different areas of application.


Aliphatic, linear dinitriles are of high interest in the field of polymer chemistry due to their easy transformation into diamines. The most prominent example is adipodinitrile of which approximately one million tons scale are produced annually. Two prevailing production processes developed by large players are based on the use of butadiene in an addition reaction with hydrogen cyanide or respectively based on a coupling of acrylamide via electro-hydrodimerization. Although these are successfully applied at large scale, high toxicity of hydrogen cyanide is a drawback of the first production route and a selectivity issue is related to the latter process. A German university has now developed a technology that enables a safe, fast chemical production of aliphatic linear dinitriles, e.g., adipodinitrile, with a long-term perspective via a cost competitive and sustainable technology compared to today´s already existing production routes. The invention of the German university focuses on a biocatalytic production process to aliphatic linear dinitriles. It avoids the need of hydrogen cyanide and leads to the desired products with excellent selectivity as in general no side-products were observed. In addition, this biocatalytic process can be conducted under mild reaction conditions. The innovative production process starts from a simple condensation of a dialdehyde raw material (in non-protected form or ín acetal-protected form) with hydroxylamine. The formed dialdoxime is then transformed via a biocatalytic dehydration to the dinitrile. The process concept is shown in the scheme as well as (so far non-optimized) results for adipodinitrile (>99% conversion, up to 80% yield). To the best of the inventors’s knowledge, this process concept represents in general the first access to adipodinitrile by means of biotechnology. For production of the raw materials chemocatalytic hydroformylation, which is known as a highly efficient methodology for aldehyde synthesis, is utilized. Industrial licensees are sought. They would have the rights for commercial use and the opportunity to develop the method further.

Advantages and innovations

• More effective biocatalytic production process of aliphatic linear a,w-dinitriles • Applicability for synthesis of adiponitrile already proven (>99% conversion, up to 80% yield) • Dialdoximes as readily available starting materials available from dialdehydes • Mild reaction conditions and excellent selectivity • Less toxic than existing methods by avoiding hydrogen cyanide as toxic reagents

Development stage

Available for demonstration

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

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