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Gewald reaction

The Gewald reaction is an organic reaction involving the condensation of a ketone (or aldehyde when R2 = H) with a α-cyanoester in the presence of elemental sulfur and base to give a poly-substituted 2-amino-thiophene.[1] [2]

Reaction mechanism

The reaction mechanism of the Gewald reaction has only recently been elucidated.[3] The first step is a Knoevenagel condensation between the ketone (1) and the α-cyanoester (2) to produce the stable intermediate 3. The mechanism of the addition of the elemental sulfur is unknown. It is postulated to proceed through intermediate 4. Cyclization and tautomerization will produce the desired product (6).


In one variation of the Gewald reaction a 3-Acetyl-2-aminothiophene is synthesized starting from a dithiane (an adduct of sulfur and acetone) and the sodium salt of cyanoacetone which in itself is very unstable [4]:


  1. ^ Gewald, K.; Schinke, E.; Böttcher, H. Ber. 1966, 99, 94-100.
  2. ^ Sabnis, R. W. Sulfur Rep. 1994, 16, 1-17. (Review)
  3. ^ Sabnis, R. W.; Rangnekar, D. W.; Sonawane, N. D. J. Heterocyclic Chem. 1999, 36, 333.
  4. ^ Gernot A. Eller, Wolfgang Holzer Molecules 2006, 11, 371-376 Online article
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gewald_reaction". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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