, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 707–713 | Cite as

Enzymatic reduction of fatty acids and acyl-CoAs to long chain aldehydes and alcohols

  • D. Riendeau
  • E. Meighen


The properties of enzymatic systems involved in the synthesis of long chain aldehydes and alcohols have been reviewed. Fatty acid and acyl-CoA reductases are widely distributed and generate fatty alcohols for ether lipid and was ester synthesis as well as fatty aldehydes for bacterial bioluminescence. Fatty alcohol is generally the major product of fatty acid reduction in crude or membrane systems, although reductases which release fatty aldehydes as products have also been purified. The reduction of fatty acid proceeds through the ATP-dependent formation of acyl intermediates such as acyl-CoA and acyl protein, followed by reduction to aldehyde and alcohol with NAD(P)H. In most cases, both the rate of fatty acid conversion and acyl chain specificity of the reaction are determined at the level of reduction of the intermediate. The reduction of fatty acids represents the major pathway for the control of the synthesis of fatty aldehydes and alcohols. Several other enzymatic reactions involved in lipid degradation also release fatty aldehydes but do not apear to play an important role in long chain alcohol synthesis.

Key words

Fatty acid long chain alcohol aldehyde acyl-CoA dehydrogenase ether lipid wax ester 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Riendeau
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Meighen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS-Santé)Université du QuébecMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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