Silver(I) as a widely applicable, homogeneous catalyst for aerobic oxidation of aldehydes toward carboxylic acids in water—“silver mirror”: From stoichiometric to catalytic

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Science Advances  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 2, e1500020
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500020


The first example of a homogeneous silver(I)-catalyzed aerobic oxidation of aldehydes in water is reported. More than 50 examples of different aliphatic and aromatic aldehydes, including natural products, were tested, and all of them successfully underwent aerobic oxidation to give the corresponding carboxylic acids in extremely high yields. The reaction conditions are very mild and greener, requiring only a very low silver(I) catalyst loading, using atmospheric oxygen as the oxidant and water as the solvent, and allowing gram-scale oxidation with only 2 mg of our catalyst. Chromatography is completely unnecessary for purification in most cases.

  • oxygen activation
  • silver catalysis
  • aldehyde oxidation
  • reactions in water
  • aerobic oxidation

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