Hydration of nitriles using a metal–ligand cooperative ruthenium pincer catalyst†
Nitrile hydration provides access to amides that are important structural elements in organic chemistry. Here we report catalytic nitrile hydration using ruthenium catalysts based on a pincer scaffold with a dearomatized pyridine backbone. These complexes catalyze the nucleophilic addition of H2O to a wide variety of aliphatic and (hetero)aromatic nitriles in tBuOH as solvent. Reactions occur under mild conditions (room temperature) in the absence of additives. A mechanism for nitrile hydration is proposed that is initiated by metal–ligand cooperative binding of the nitrile.