Mg-Catalyzed OPPenauer Oxidation—Application to the Flow Synthesis of a Natural Pheromone

    • Virginie Liautard
    • Mélodie Birepinte
    • Camille Bettoli
    • Mathieu Pucheault

    The so-called OPPenauer oxidation is well known for its ability to oxidize valuable alcohols into their corresponding aldehydes or ketones. In particular, it has proven to be extremely successful in the oxidation of sterols. On the other hand, its application—in the original formulation—to the obtainment of ketones outside the field of steroids met a more limited success because of less favorable thermodynamics and side reactions. To circumvent these issues, the first example of magnesium-catalyzed OPPenauer oxidation is described. The oxidation of primary and secondary alcohol was performed using pivaldehyde or bromaldehyde as the oxidant and cheap magnesium tert-butoxide as catalyst. Decent to excellent yields were obtained using reasonable catalytic charge. The synthesis of a pheromone stemming from the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus was obtained by tandem addition-oxidation of 2-methylpentanal and the process was successfully applied to continuous flow on a multigram scale.

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