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Comment Processing & Handling

Making amides with high yield, less waste

By Tetsuo Satoh |

A catalyst for making amides from alcohols and amines under aerobic conditions has been developed by Professor Shu Kobayashi and his research group at the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, www.chem.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/users/synorg/index_e.html). The catalyst — nano particles (2.4-nm dia.) of gold and cobalt — is said to produce amides with higher yield, less side reactions and almost no waste, compared to alternative routes based on carboxylic acids and amines, which require a condensation agent that generates a lot of waste. Yields of more than 90% have been achieved in the laboratory for amides that are typically used for synthesizing proteins and textile chemicals. For example, a targeted amide has been produced from benzyl alcohol and benzyl amine with a 96% yield using a 1-wt.% Au/Co catalyst on a polymer-incarcerated, carbon-black (PICB) support. The reaction required 12 h in a tetrahydrofuran-water solvent at room temperature. Over 30 other reactions using alcohols and amines — including ammonia and amino acids — have been studied, with yields of over 90% for the corresponding amide. The catalyst can be recovered and reused several times without loss of activity, says Kobayashi. The group plans to work with industrial…
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