Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    The modern interpretation of the Wittig reaction mechanism
    (RSC Publishing, 2013-05) ;
    The mechanism of the Wittig reaction has long been a contentious issue in organic chemistry. Even now, more than 50 years after its announcement, its presentation in many modern undergraduate textbooks is either overly simplified or entirely inaccurate. In this review, we gather together the huge body of evidence that has been amassed to show that the Li salt-free Wittig reactions of non-stabilised, semi-stabilised and stabilised ylides all occur under kinetic control by a common mechanism in which oxaphosphetane (OPA) is the first-formed and only intermediate. The numerous recent significant additions to the subject – including computational studies and experimental material pertinent to both steps of the reaction (OPA formation and its decomposition) are discussed in detail, and the currently accepted explanations for the source of the stereoselectivity in Wittig reactions are given. We also present the other mechanistic proposals that have been made during the history of the Wittig reaction, and show how they are unable to account for all of the experimental evidence that is now available. Details of certain experimental facts to do with Wittig reactions in the presence of Li cation are also included, although the precise mechanistic details of such reactions are yet to be established conclusively. We make the case that a clear distinction should henceforth be made between the unknown “Li-present” and the now well-established “Li salt-free” Wittig mechanisms.
      2568Scopus© Citations 231
  • Publication
    A convenient and mild chromatography-free method for the purification of the products of Wittig and Appel reactions
    A mild method for the facile removal of phosphine oxide from the crude products of Wittig and Appel reactions is described.  Work-up with oxalyl chloride to generate insol. chlorophosphonium salt (CPS) yields phosphorus-free products for a wide variety of these reactions.  The CPS product can be further converted into phosphine.
      1101Scopus© Citations 69
  • Publication
    Unequivocal experimental evidence for a unified lithium salt-free Wittig reaction mechanism for all phosphonium ylide types: reactions with β-heteroatom-substituted aldehydes are consistently selective for cis-oxaphosphetane-derived products
    (American Chemical Society, 2012-05) ;
    The true course of the lithium salt-free Wittig reaction has long been a contentious issue in organic chemistry. Herein we report an experimental effect that is common to the Wittig reactions of all of the three major phosphonium ylide classes (non-stabilized, semi-stabilized, and stabilized): there is consistently increased selectivity for cis-oxaphosphetane and its derived products (Z-alkene and erythro-B-hydroxyphosphonium salt) in reactions involving aldehydes bearing heteroatom substituents in the B-position. The effect operates with both benzaldehydes and aliphatic aldehydes and is shown not to operate in the absence of the heteroatom substituent on the aldehyde. The discovery of an effect that is common to reactions of all ylide types strongly argues for the operation of a common mechanism in all Li salt-free Wittig reactions. In addition, the results are shown to be most easily explained by the [2+2] cycloaddition mechanism proposed by Vedejs and co-workers as supplemented by Aggarwal, Harvey, and co-workers, thus providing strong confirmatory evidence in support of that mechanism. Notably, a cooperative effect of ortho-substituents in the case of semi-stabilized ylides is confirmed and is accommodated by the cycloaddition mechanism. The effect is also shown to operate in reactions of triphenylphosphine-derived ylides and has previously been observed for reactions under aqueous conditions, thus for the first time providing evidence that kinetic control is in operation in both of these cases.
      906Scopus© Citations 61
  • Publication
    Anomalous Z-isomer content in Wittig reaction products from keto-stabilised ylides with ortho-heteroatom substituted benzaldehydes
    Wittig reaction products of keto-stabilised ylides with ortho-substituted benzaldehydes are found to show significantly higher than expected Z-alkene content (up to 50%) compared to analogous reactions of the same ylides with benzaldehyde itself. A cooperative effect is seen whereby the unusual Z-content is further augmented if the ylide bears greater steric bulk in the α′-position. These results are consistent with our previous observations on reactions of all ylide types with aldehydes bearing a β-heteroatom. Significantly, the cooperative effect, previously seen only with semi-stabilised ylides, has now been extended to stabilised ylides. Both the anomalous increase in Z-content and the cooperative effect can be rationalised within the [2+2] cycloaddition mechanism of the Wittig reaction.
      445Scopus© Citations 14