Continuous proline catalysis via leaching of solid proline

    • Suzanne M. Opalka1
    • Ashley R. Longstreet2
    • D. Tyler McQuade2
    • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, USA
    • 2Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University,USA

    Herein, we demonstrate that a homogeneous catalyst can be prepared continuously via reaction with a packed-bed of a catalyst precursor. Specifically, we perform continuous proline catalyzed α-aminoxylations using a packed-bed of L-proline. The system relies on a multistep sequence in which an aldehyde and thiourea additive are passed through a column of solid proline, presumably forming a soluble oxazolidinone intermediate. This transports a catalytic amount of proline from the packed-bed into the reactor coil for subsequent combination with a solution of nitrosobenzene, affording the desired optically active α-aminooxy alcohol after reduction. To our knowledge, this is the first example in which a homogeneous catalyst is produced continuously using a packed-bed. We predict that the method will not only be useful for other L-proline catalyzed reactions, but we also foresee that it could be used to produce other catalytic species in flow.

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