Researchers at McGill University, Montreal, have discovered a simple water-based route for direct metal-mediated arylation of aldehydes. Chao-Jun Li, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry, and Feng Zhou, a postdoctoral fellow in the school’s department of chemistry, say their route avoids challenges posed by conventional two-step organic-solvent-based synthesis, such as the need to exclude air and moisture. “It thereby creates a safer, more convenient and more environmentally benign strategy to access the diarylmethanols and aryl alkyl alcohols, ubiquitous skeletons found in fine chemicals, biologically active molecules, and pharmaceuticals,” they note.
Figure 1. Feng Zhou of McGill University co-discovered water-based route. Source: Haining Wang.