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Superbase-Promoted Acylation of Hindered Alcohols

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journal contribution
posted on 03.05.1996, 00:00 authored by Bosco A. D'S, John G. Verkade
The commercially available nonionic superbase P(MeNCH2CH2)3N (1a) is very useful for the acylation of unreactive hindered alcohols as well as acid-sensitive alcohols. The reactions proceed in high yields using an acid anhydride, and 1a can be regenerated in a single step. The relative rates for benzoylation of (±)-menthol in C6D6 using conventional acylation reagents and strong nonionic bases are compared. In general, acetylation with 1a is accelerated in the polar solvent CH3CN whereas benzoylation is faster in the nonpolar solvent C6H6. The benzoylation intermediate RC(O)P(MeNCH2CH2)3N+ was found to be in equilibrium with 1a, with lower temperatures favoring the intermediate. The relative stabilities of several known acylating intermediates are compared.