The Barbier-Grignard-type arylation of aldehydes using unactivated aryl iodides in water.

Nature communications

PubMedID: 24968128

Zhou F, Li CJ. The Barbier-Grignard-type arylation of aldehydes using unactivated aryl iodides in water. Nat Commun. 2014;54254.
Carbon-carbon bond formation is the essence of organic synthesis. One of the most important methods for forming carbon-carbon bonds is the Barbier-Grignard-type reaction, which was discovered over a century ago. However, it is still highly desirable to further improve this process. In this article, we describe a Barbier-Grignard-type direct arylation of aldehydes by using unactivated iodides mediated by zinc and catalysed by rhodium in water. This method bypasses a number of challenges encountered by the conventional Barbier-Grignard reaction, such as strict exclusion of moisture and air, protection-deprotection of various acidic hydrogens in the substrates, and so forth. It thereby creates a safer, more convenient and more environmentally benign strategy to access the diarylmethanols and aryl alkyl alcohols, ubiquitous skeletons found in fine chemicals, biologically active molecules and pharmaceuticals. Importantly, the same reaction performed in an organic solvent proceeded sluggishly to give much inferior yields.