The ruthenium-catalyzed allylation of aldehydes with allylic pro-nucleophiles has been demonstrated to be an efficient means to form carbon-carbon bonds under mild conditions. The evolution of this reaction from the initial serendipitous discovery to its general synthetic scope is detailed, highlighting the roles of water, CO, and amine in the generation of a more complete catalytic cycle. The use of unsymmetrical allylic pro-nucleophiles was shown to give preferential product formation through the modulation of reaction conditions. Both (E)-cinnamyl acetate and vinyl oxirane were efficiently used to form the anti-branched products (up to >20:1 anti/syn) and E-linear products (up to >20:1 E/Z) in high selectivity with aromatic, α,β-unsaturated, and aliphatic aldehydes, respectively. Attempts to render the reaction enantioselective are highlighted and include enantioenrichment of up to 75:25 for benzaldehyde.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry