PAPER: Nucleophilic addition of nitrones to ketones: Development of a new catalytic asymmetric nitrone-aldol reaction

Bøgevig, A.; Gothelf, K. V.; Jørgensen, K. A.

Chem. Eur. J. 2002, 8, 5652–5661.

Danish National Research Foundation, Center for Catalysis, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark


A new organic reaction has been discovered in which nitrones react with carbonyl compounds in an aldoltype reaction to give functionalized beta-hydroxynitrones. The alpha-carbon atom of the nitrone undergoes a nucleophilic addition reaction to electron-deficient ketones, such as alpha-ketoesters, alpha,beta-diketones, and trifluoromethyl ketones, to afford the products in moderate to good yields. The scope and potential of the reaction have been investigated and developed. The reaction can also be catalyzed by secondary amines. The use of chiral cyclic amines, such as L-proline leads to optically active beta-hydroxynitrones in moderate yield and with moderate to high enantiomeric excess. The reaction mechanism was studied by kinetic measurements, intermediate and product analysis, and determination of the absolute configuration of the product; based on these investigations a mechanism for the new reaction is proposed.

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