Both aliphatic and aromatic acyl cyanides have been synthesized with TMSCN and acyl chloride with ZnI2 (0.5 mol%). However the in situ generated I2 is proposed accounting for the formation of by-product O-TMS enolate at high catalyst loading rather than 0.5 mol%. Asymmetric reduction of benzoyl cyanide with borane has been explored in 82% yield and 24% ee.
Keywords: Acyl cyanide, catalysis, cyanation, iodine, Lewis acids, nitrile, cyanohydrin, asymmetric reduction
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