Toward Green Acylation of (Hetero)arenes: Palladium-Catalyzed Carbonylation of Olefins to Ketones

Jie Liu, Zhihong Wei, Haijun Jiao, Ralf Jackstell, Matthias Beller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Green Friedel-Crafts acylation reactions belong to the most desired transformations in organic chemistry. The resulting ketones constitute important intermediates, building blocks, and functional molecules in organic synthesis as well as for the chemical industry. Over the past 60 years, advances in this topic have focused on how to make this reaction more economically and environmentally friendly by using green acylating conditions, such as stoichiometric acylations and catalytic homogeneous and heterogeneous acylations. However, currently well-established methodologies for their synthesis either produce significant amounts of waste or proceed under harsh conditions, limiting applications. Here, we present a new protocol for the straightforward and selective introduction of acyl groups into (hetero)arenes without directing groups by using available olefins with inexpensive CO. In the presence of commercial palladium catalysts, inter- and intramolecular carbonylative C-H functionalizations take place with good regio- and chemoselectivity. Compared to classical Friedel-Crafts chemistry, this novel methodology proceeds under mild reaction conditions. The general applicability of this methodology is demonstrated by the direct carbonylation of industrial feedstocks (ethylene and diisobutene) as well as of natural products (eugenol and safrole). Furthermore, synthetic applications to drug molecules are showcased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalACS Central Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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