Expanding the Catalytic Activity of Nucleophilic N-Heterocyclic Carbenes for Transesterification Reactions

Currently, there is a renewed interest in reactions that are catalyzed by organic compounds. Typical organic catalysts for acylation or transesterification reactions are based on either nucleophilic tertiary amines or phosphines. This communication discusses the use of nucleophilic N-heterocyclic carbenes as efficient transesterification catalysts. These relatively unexplored and highly versatile organic catalysts were found to be mild, selective, and more active than traditional organic nucleophiles.