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Issue 12, 2004
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A green look at the aldol reaction

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Aldol reactions have been and are widely applied for the preparation of β-hydroxy aldehydes, β-hydroxy ketones or α,β-unsaturated aldehydes or ketones through addition or addition-elimination reactions of aldehydes and ketones. The study of the aldol reaction from the point of view of its greenness must have in mind first of all that a general synthetic method must be based on complete and efficient conversions of well defined selectivity and that greenness is more a term for comparison than an absolute kind of qualification. This comparison, when referred to the aldol reaction, applies here to the diverse modifications of the reaction. Thus, the original poorly selective, but highly atom economic catalytic procedures, have been improved by several authors by introduction of stoichiometric forms of activation in the search for better selectivities. However, the success in these improvements has been accompanied by higher levels of hazard and waste. The study of the greenness of the aldol reaction is completed by a short overview of recent contributions intended to achieve efficient, safe and clean conversions that are susceptible to becoming general green synthetic procedures. Interesting contributions are highlighted for reactions carried out under solvent-less conditions, in water, ionic liquids and supercritical fluids, with activation by microwaves, or with use of heterogeneous catalysis and especially of biocatalysis and biomimetic catalysis. Promising methods based on reduction of unsaturated ketones or on rearrangement of allylic alcohols have also recently been described.

Graphical abstract: A green look at the aldol reaction

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Jun 2004, accepted on 17 Sep 2004 and first published on 05 Nov 2004

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/B409143B
Citation: Green Chem., 2004,6, 583-603

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    A green look at the aldol reaction

    R. Mestres, Green Chem., 2004, 6, 583
    DOI: 10.1039/B409143B

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