Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) is a signalling molecule for bacterial inter-species communication. A synthesis of (S)-4,5-dihydroxypentane-2,3-dione (DPD), the precursor of AI-2, is described starting from methyl glycolate. The key step was an asymmetric reduction of a ketone with (S)-Alpine borane. This new method was highly reproducible affording DPD for biological tests without contaminants. The biological activity was tested with the previously available assays and compared with a new method using an Escherichia coli reporter strain thus avoiding the use of the pathogenic Salmonella reporter.