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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Jan 30;135(4):1549-57. doi: 10.1021/ja3113559. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Mechanistic investigation of oxidative Mannich reaction with tert-butyl hydroperoxide. The role of transition metal salt.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


A general mechanism is proposed for transition metal-catalyzed oxidative Mannich reactions of N,N-dialkylanilines with tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) as the oxidant. The mechanism consists of a rate-determining single electron transfer (SET) that is uniform from 4-methoxy- to 4-cyano-N,N-dimethylanilines. The tert-butylperoxy radical is the major oxidant in the rate-determining SET step that is followed by competing backward SET and irreversible heterolytic cleavage of the carbon-hydrogen bond at the α-position to nitrogen. A second SET completes the conversion of N,N-dimethylaniline to an iminium ion that is subsequently trapped by the nucleophilic solvent or the oxidant prior to formation of the Mannich adduct. The general role of Rh(2)(cap)(4), RuCl(2)(PPh(3))(3), CuBr, FeCl(3), and Co(OAc)(2) in N,N-dialkylaniline oxidations by T-HYDRO is to initiate the conversion of TBHP to tert-butylperoxy radicals. A second pathway, involving O(2) as the oxidant, exists for copper, iron, and cobalt salts. Results from linear free-energy relationship (LFER) analyses, kinetic and product isotope effects (KIE and PIE), and radical trap experiments of N,N-dimethylaniline oxidation by T-HYDRO in the presence of transition metal catalysts are discussed. Kinetic studies of the oxidative Mannich reaction in methanol and toluene are also reported.

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