C-H Bond Activation

Threading the needle with manganese

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Science  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6260, pp. 525-526
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6260.525-b

It's rather straightforward to oxidize hydrocarbons indiscriminately—that's the type of reaction that supplies heat to gas-powered stoves and furnaces. Chemists interested in making pharmaceuticals or consumer products do not want to end up with just carbon dioxide and water though. Instead, they want to transform certain specific C-H bonds without disturbing the rest of the molecule. Paradine et al. report a manganese catalyst that slides pendant N into C-H bonds with high tolerance for otherwise-reactive C=C double bonds nearby. At the same time, the catalyst shows surprisingly high reactivity toward very strong C-H bonds (including primary alkyl sites) that previous selective catalysts failed to engage.

Nat. Chem. 10.1038/NCHEM.2366 (2015).

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