I'm interested in the chemical synthesis of nucleoside phosphoramidites, but all the procedures I can find have "start with a protected nucleoside" as the first step. Searches for chemical synthesis of nucleosides all seem to find process that start with existing nucleobases, or in vivo processes, or speculative origin-of-life processes. Searching for chemical synthesis of nucleobases ONLY seems to find speculative origin-of-life processes.

What I'm looking for (just out of curiosity) are processes for chemical synthesis of nucleosides from a non-biological basis (not using pre-existing nucleobases) as used in typical commercial/industrial supply of nucleoside phosphoramidites. I'm starting to wonder if they even are chemically synthesized, or if they are instead harvested in some way, but it's hard to find a smoking gun that outright says it one way or the other without access to whitepapers anymore (no more university account).

Does anybody know?

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    $\begingroup$ Why would any practical man make something that's lying all around? $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jul 24, 2018 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ Hypothetically, a business might do so if it was cheaper to obtain a salable product by e.g. mixing some petrochemicals in a vessel than by fermenting and sufficiently purifying a biological product (apparently not, by your implication). Even if I knew all the options I wouldn't be able to judge the economics of each at commercial scale to arrive at the answer deductively. Hence my question. $\endgroup$
    – bseq
    Jul 30, 2018 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ So something like this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purine#Laboratory_synthesis ? Well, over century ago guys made nucleobases just to see they could... $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jul 30, 2018 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, like that. Thanks, that's great context. A feasible process but it sounds like it isn't used to produce commercial quantities. $\endgroup$
    – bseq
    Jul 31, 2018 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Finally found what I was looking for, especially paired with Mithoron's comments.

"Currently, purine nucleotides are obtained at industrial level mainly by microbial fermentation".


Ledesma-Amaro, Rodrigo & Jiménez, Alberto & Santos, María de los Ángeles & Revuelta, José. (2013). Biotechnological production of feed nucleotides by microbial strain improvement. Process Biochemistry. 48. 1263-1270. 10.1016/j.procbio.2013.06.025.


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