Ni-catalyzed reductive decyanation of nitriles with ethanol as the reductant†
A nickel-catalyzed reductive decyanation of aromatic nitriles has been developed, in which the readily available and abundant ethanol was applied as the hydride donor. Various functional groups on the aromatic rings, such as alkoxyl, amino, imino and amide, were compatible in this catalytic protocol. Heteroaryl, benzylic and alkenyl nitriles were also tolerated. Mechanistic investigation indicated that ethanol provided hydride efficiently via β-hydride elimination in this reductive decyanation.