Amides are versatile and important synthetic intermediates used in the production of a variety of plastics, detergents, lubricants, and polymers. Traditional methods of hydrating nitriles to amides involve the use of strong bases or acids, enzymes, or heterogenous catalysts, but these traditional methods suffer from various drawbacks. Strong acids or bases are generally used in stoichiometric excess under harsh conditions, which often induces further hydrolysis of the desired amides to carboxylic acids which lowers the yield. Heterogeneous catalysts, such as zeolites and metal oxides, often produce poor yields and demonstrate poor tolerance for other functional groups. Transition metal complexes offer a potential alternative to the traditional approaches, but many of these transition metal complexes are often air-sensitive and non-recyclable catalysts.
Our researchers at University of Nevada, Reno found a method for hydrating a nitrile derivative to generate an amide derivative. This method includes mixing the nitrile derivative with a ruthenium catalyst complex in an aqueous solution to form a mixture, and reacting the nitrile derivative with water in the aqueous solution, in the presence of the ruthenium catalyst complex to form a reacted mixture comprising the amide derivative. The ruthenium complex is represented by a structural formula: RuX2(L)n, wherein X is an anionic ligand, L is a bi-functional phosphine ligand and n is 3 or 4.
This catalytic system includes easy catalyst preparation, simple reaction setup, and the use of green solvent (water).
This catalyst is robust and highly recyclable under atmospheric conditions
This invention is broad and is not limited to specific details like representative products and methods. This provides the homogeneous catalyst with the engineering advantages of heterogeneous catalyst.