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J Org Chem. 1997 Apr 18;62(8):2505-2511.

Applications of High-Temperature Aqueous Media for Synthetic Organic Reactions.

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CSIRO Division of Chemicals and Polymers, Private Bag 10, Clayton South MDC, Victoria 3169, Australia.


Preparative organic synthesis was investigated in aqueous media at temperatures up to 300 degrees C. Experiments were conducted with a recently disclosed pressurized microwave batch reactor (MBR) or in conventionally heated autoclaves. Thirty-six examples are presented. Among these, methods were developed for a Fischer synthesis, an intramolecular aldol condensation that was scaled up, decarboxylation of indole-2-carboxylic acid, Rupe rearrangement of 1-ethynyl-1-cyclohexanol, isomerization of carvone to carvacrol, and conversion of phenylacetylene to acetophenone. The applicability of high-temperature water was also demonstrated for biomimetic processes important in food, flavor, and aroma chemistry and for tandem reactions such as formation of 2-methyl-2,3-dihydrobenzofuran from allyl phenyl ether. When addition of acid or base was necessary, less agent was usually required for high-temperature processes than for those at and below boiling, and the reactions often proceeded more selectively. In some instances the requirement was orders of magnitude lower, with obvious consequences for safe, economic processing and for lowering costs of effluent disposal. The diversity of reactions indicates that high-temperature aqueous media could play an increasingly important role in the development of new preparative processes.

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