We report the heterogeneously catalyzed hydrogenation of amides to form alcohols and amines. This C-N bond cleavage reaction is catalyzed by silver on γ-alumina, proceeds smoothly in high yields and 100% selectivity, and is effective for both benzamides and aliphatic amides. This is in contrast to amide hydrogenation catalyzed by heterogeneous catalysts, which generally proceeds via C-O bond cleavage. Recycling experiments show that the catalyst Ag/γ-Al2O3 can be easily recovered and regenerated without decrease in catalytic activity.
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