Ni-Catalyzed Conversion of Amides into Esters

The amide function is ubiquitous in natural compounds as well as in man-made molecules and materials. It is generally very stable and poorly reactive owing to its resonance-stabilized C–N group that imparts a planar geometry to amides. In contrast, carboxylic esters are generally reactive under a variety of mild conditions; therefore, it is not surprising that a number of direct methods are available to the chemist for converting esters into amides (amino-de-alkoxylation reaction) but very few for achieving the opposite transformation. Recently, Professors Neil Garg and Ken Houk from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, USA) reported in Nature a groundbreaking method for converting amides into esters with a high degree of efficiency.

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