Chemoselectivity change in catalytic hydrogenolysis enabling urea-reduction to formamide/amine over more reactive carbonyl compounds



Takanori Iwasaki, Kazuki Tsuge, Naoki Naito, Kyoko Nozaki


The selective transformation of a less reactive carbonyl moiety in the presence of more reactive ones can realize straightforward and environmentally benign chemical processes. However, such a transformation is highly challenging because the reactivity of carbonyl compounds, one of the most important functionalities in organic chemistry, depends on the substituents on the carbon atom. Herein, we report an Ir catalyst for the selective hydrogenolysis of urea derivatives, which are the least reactive carbonyl compounds, affording formamides and amines. Although formamide, as well as ester, amide, and carbamate substituents, are considered to be more reactive than urea, the proposed Ir catalyst tolerated these carbonyl groups and reacted with urea in a highly chemoselective manner. The proposed chemo- and regioselective hydrogenolysis allows the development of a strategy for the chemical recycling of polyurea resins.



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