β-lactams have attracted a significant attention due to their potential biological
activities and wide variety of synthetic applications. Developing novel and efficient
methods for construction of functionalized β-lactams has been the subject of a number of
papers in recent years. N-Propargyl amines/amides are one of the most specific class of
alkynes having diverse reaction patterns. It is well known that they can undergo a number
of cyclization reactions to produce various significant nitrogen containing heterocycles.
This review surveys literature methods for the synthesis of highly substituted β-lactams
from simple and easily available N-propargyl amine/amide derivatives from 1991 to 2017.
Keywords: β-lactams, N-propargylamines, N-propargylamides, 4-exo-dig cyclization, Ugi-adducts, carbon monoxide.
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