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Direct Macrolactonization of Seco Acids via Hafnium(IV) Catalysis

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journal contribution
posted on 06.03.2015, 00:00 by Mylène de Léséleuc, Shawn K. Collins
Efficient direct macrolactonization of seco acids can be catalyzed by Hf­(OTf)4 in high yields, forming water as the sole byproduct. The Hf­(OTf)4 catalyst possesses unique reactivity characteristics relative to other Lewis acids, as it promotes macrolactonization over hydrolysis even in the presence of excess water. In addition to forming a variety of macrolactones and benzolactones (55–90%), intermolecular direct esterifications of carboxylic acids and alcohols were also possible and demonstrated compatibility with common carbamate, silyl ether, alkoxymethyl ether, and acetal protecting groups. All of the macrolactonization and esterification processes developed are operationally simple, “one-pot” reactions that exploit a commercially available catalyst without the need for slow addition or azeotropic techniques.