The enantioselectivity of the kinetic resolution of a primary alcohol which has a chiral center at the β-position of the hydroxyl group was substantially improved by employing a racemic mixture of a chiral acyl donor for enantioselective transesterification catalyzed by a lipase. The combination of the lipase, solvent, and acyl donor was also effective for the enantioselectivity. In addition, the important effect of the chirality of an acyl donor on kinetic resolution was investigated by using enantiomerically pure acyl donors. Here we demonstrate the effective kinetic resolution (E=98) of a primary alcohol, 2-phenyl-1-propanol, by using a racemic mixture of a chiral acyl donor, vinyl 3-phenylbutanoate. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.