On the mechanism of the Skraup-Doebner-Von Miller quinoline synthesis

Scott E. Denmark, Srikanth Venkatraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanism of the formation of substituted quinolines from anilines and α,β-unsaturated ketones has been studied by the use of 13C-labeled ketones in cross-over experiments. In the reaction of doubly labeled 13C(2,4) mesityl oxide, a 100% scrambling of the label in the quinoline product was observed, whereas only a small (5-10%) amount of the starting mesityl oxide showed scrambling of the label. Similarly, the reaction of triply labeled pulegone clearly shows that the label in the product is 100% scrambled, whereas the label in the starting pulegone is retained. On the basis of these studies, a mechanistic pathway for the Skraup quinoline synthesis is proposed that involves a fragmentation-recombination mechanism. The aniline component condenses with the α,β-unsaturated ketone initially in a conjugate fashion, followed by a fragmentation to the corresponding imine and the ketone itself. These fragments recombine to form the quinoline product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1668-1676
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 17 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry

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