Direct hydroxyethylation of amines by carbohydrates via ruthenium catalysis†
An efficient and halogen-free catalytic methodology for the synthesis of β-amino alcohols from aromatic amines and biomass-derived carbohydrates is demonstrated for the first time. The activation of C5/C6 sugars by a ruthenium catalyst selectively generates the C2 alkylating reagent glycolaldehyde. The transformation involves metal-catalyzed hydrogen borrowing for the reduction of the imine intermediate. A series of arylamines bearing various substituents were successfully transformed into the desired products in good to excellent yields.