Shikimic acid is a natural product of industrial importance utilized as a precursor of the antiviral Tamiflu. It is nowadays produced in multihundred ton amounts from the extraction of star anise (Illicium verum) or by fermentation processes. Apart from the production of Tamiflu, shikimic acid has gathered particular notoriety as its useful carbon backbone and inherent chirality provide extensive use as a versatile chiral precursor in organic synthesis. This review provides an overview of the main synthetic and microbial methods for production of shikimic acid and highlights selected methods for isolation from available plant sources. Furthermore, we have attempted to demonstrate the synthetic utility of shikimic acid by covering the most important synthetic modifications and related applications, namely, synthesis of Tamiflu and derivatives, synthetic manipulations of the main functional groups, and its use as biorenewable material and in total synthesis. Given its rich chemistry and availability, shikimic acid is undoubtedly a promising platform molecule for further exploration. Therefore, in the end, we outline some challenges and promising future directions. © 2018 American Chemical Society.
Year of publication: 2018