Cobalt-catalyzed hydroxymethylarylation of terpenes with formaldehyde and arenes†
Terpenes, consisting of isoprene monomer units, represent a family of naturally abundant compounds. The difunctionalization of terpenes is highly appealing yet remains challenging, since the multiple unbiased CC bonds of terpenes lead to difficulty in controlling the regioselectivity. Herein, a cobalt(III)-catalyzed C–H activation strategy has been developed to facilitate hydroxymethylarylation of terpenes with formaldehyde and arenes with high chemo- and regio-selectivities. These (chemo- and regio-) selectivities are governed by the coordination abilities of isoprene, directing groups and the steric effect. This terpene difunctionalization also features high atom and step economy through a C–H addition pathway.