In London, one has the pleasures of attending occasional one day meetings at the Burlington House, home of the Royal Society of Chemistry. On November 5th this year, there was an excellent meeting on the topic of Challenges in Catalysis, and you can see the speakers and (some of) their slides here. One talk on the topic of Direct amide formation – the issues, the art, the industrial application by Dave Jackson caught my interest. He asked whether an amide could be formed directly from a carboxylic acid and an amine without the intervention of an explicit catalyst. The answer involved noting that the carboxylic acid was itself a catalyst in the process, and a full mechanistic exploration of this aspect can be found in an article published in collaboration with Andy Whiting’s group at Durham. My after-thoughts in the pub centered around the recollection that I had written some blog posts about the reaction between hydroxylamine and propanone. Might there be any similarity between the two mechanisms?
- H. Charville, D.A. Jackson, G. Hodges, A. Whiting, and M.R. Wilson, "The Uncatalyzed Direct Amide Formation Reaction - Mechanism Studies and the Key Role of Carboxylic Acid H-Bonding", European Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol. 2011, pp. 5981-5990, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejoc.201100714