Selective α‑Deuteration of Amines and Amino Acids Using D2O

Monohydrido-bridged ruthenium complex [{(η6-p-cymene)­RuCl}2(μ-H-μ-Cl)] catalyzes (catalyst load: 0.5–1 mol %) α-selective deuteration of primary and secondary amines, amino acids, and drug molecules using deuterium oxide (D2O) as a deuterium source. Mechanistic investigations revealed N–H activation of amines, which was also established by single-crystal X-ray analysis of an intermediate. β-Hydride elimination on amide ligand results in formation of imine-ligated ruthenium intermediate and subsequent 1,3-deuteride migrations to imine ligand leading to the selective deuteration at the α-CH2 protons of amine functionality is proposed.