[3+2] Dipolar cycloadditions of an unstabilised azomethine ylide under continuous flow conditions

    • Mark Grafton
    • Andrew C. Mansfield
    • M. Jonathan
    • Pfizer Global Research and Development, Sandwich, UK

    The [3+2] dipolar cycloaddition reactions of the unstabilised azomethine ylide precursor benzyl(methoxymethyl)(trimethylsilylmethyl)amine with 12 electron-deficient alkenes in the presence of catalytic trifluoroacetic acid are examined under continuous flow conditions (20–100 °C, 10–60 min residence time). The more reactive and hazardous alkenes such as ethyl acrylate, N-methylmaleimide and (E)-2-nitrostyrene afford substituted N-benzylpyrrolidine products in 77–83% yields, whereas less reactive dipolarophiles such as (E)-crotononitrile and ethyl methacrylate give lower yields (59–63%). Under optimised conditions, the reaction with ethyl acrylate is scaled up to afford ethyl N-benzylpyrrolidine-3-carboxylate (30 g, 87%) in 1 h.

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