The Art of Organic Synthesis: Cascade Reactions

Monserrat H. Garduño-Castro from University of Manchester

We live in a world which is largely shaped by organic compounds. Some of them are found in nature in microorganisms or plants and some others are synthesized by chemists, such as insecticides or plastics. The usual procedure for the synthesis of organic compounds is the stepwise formation of the individual bonds in the target molecules, molecules often inspired by compounds Nature makes. At present, synthetic chemists have been challenged to develop much more efficient, environmentally friendly, novel and elegant organic reactions that could form bonds in one sequence without isolation of intermediates, changing the reaction conditions, or adding reagents. We call this type of transformations cascade reactions. Nature will always be the uncontested master, but I dare say chemists are doing their job very well.

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