A highly chemoselective, diastereoselective, and regioselective epoxidation of chiral allylic alcohols with hydrogen peroxide, catalyzed by sandwich-type polyoxometalates: Enhancement of reactivity and control of selectivity by the hydroxy group through metal-alcoholate bonding

Waldemar Adam, Paul L. Alsters, Ronny Neumann, Chantu R. Saha-Möller, Dorit Sloboda-Rozner, Rui Zhang

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Sandwich-type polyoxometalates (POMs), namely [VZnM2(ZnW9O34)2]q- [M = Mn(II), Ru(III), Fe(III), Pd(II), Pt(II), Zn(II); q = 10-12], are shown to catalyze selectively the epoxidation of chiral allylic alcohols with 30% hydrogen peroxide under mild conditions (ca. 20 °C) in an aqueous/organic biphasic system. The transition metals M in the central ring of polyoxometalate do not affect the reactivity, chemoselectivity, or stereoselectivity of the allylic alcohol epoxidation by hydrogen peroxide. Similar selectivities, albeit in significantly lower product yields, are observed for the lacunary Keggin POM [PW11O39]7-, in which a peroxotungstate complex has been shown to be the active oxidizing species. All these features support a tungsten peroxo complex rather than a high-valent transition-metal oxo species operates as the key intermediate in the sandwich-type POM-catalyzed epoxidations. On capping of the hydroxy functionality through acetylation or methylation, no reactivity of these hydroxy-protected substrates [1a(Ac) and 1a(Me)] is observed by these POMs. A template is proposed to account for the marked enhancement of reactivity and selectivity, in which the allylic alcohol is ligated through metal - alcoholate bonding, and the H2O2 oxygen source is activated in the form of a peroxotungsten complex. 1,3-Allylic strain promotes a high preference for the threo diastereomer and 1,2-allylic strain a high preference for the erythro diastereomer, whereas tungsten - alcoholate bonding furnishes high regioselectivity for the epoxidation of the allylic double bond. The estimated dihedral angle α of 50 - 70° for the metal - alcoholate-bonded template of the POM/H2O2 system provides the best compromise between 1,2A and 1,3A strain during the oxygen transfer. In contrast to acyclic allylic alcohols 1, the M-POM-catalyzed oxidation of the cyclic allylic alcohols 4 by H2O2 gives significant amounts of enone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1728
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 7 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry

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