Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Steven Ley's Group really produces some cracking results. This time they have developed a really simple method for preparing primary amides from carboxylic esters. This is very good news because this seemingly simple transformation is in fact not as simpel as one could have hoped for. In the past I have used ammonia in methanol to achieve this. The commercially available NH3 in MeOH is rather variable in quality so making it fresh by saturating methanol with ammonia using a gas cylinder is preferable. It's an annoying exercise making the solution and the actual reaction CO2R to CONH2 doesn't really work that well.So when Steven Ley comes up with a method that involves scooping solid magnesium nitride into a flask with your ester and some methanol, heating it to 80 oC for 24 hr, work up, filter, done! then that is really exciting good news to the synthetic organic chemist.
Magnesium nitride is reasonably priced, e.g. Aldrich (#415111) 10 g for less than 40 Euros. D!