Asymmetric catalysis with water: Efficient kinetic resolution of terminal epoxides by means of catalytic hydrolysis

Makoto Tokunaga, Jay F. Larrow, Fumitoshi Kakiuchi, Eric N. Jacobsen

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1216 Citations (Scopus)


Epoxides are versatile building blocks for organic synthesis. However, terminal epoxides are arguably the most important subclass of these compounds, and no general and practical method exists for their production in enantiomerically pure form. Terminal epoxides are available very inexpensively as racemic mixtures, and kinetic resolution is an attractive strategy for the production of optically active epoxides, given an economical and operationally simple method. Readily accessible synthetic catalysts (chiral cobalt-based salen complexes) have been used for the efficient asymmetric hydrolysis of terminal epoxides. This process uses water as the only reagent, no added solvent, and low loadings of a recyclable catalyst (<0.5 mole percent), and it affords highly valuable terminal epoxides and 1,2-diols in high yield with high enantiomeric enrichment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-938
Number of pages3
Issue number5328
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Aug 15
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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