Yong Cao and colleagues from Fudan University, Shanghai, have discovered that the non-flammable Au/TiO2 demonstrates great potential for catalytic transfer hydrogenation.
Traditionally this transformation relies on the use of homogeneous transition metal complexes, which are not very practical, Cao explains. Although several heterogeneous catalysts have been reported (which can be separated and reused) they are generally not as active as the homogeneous catalysts, and are either flammable or moisture-sensitive. Therefore an efficient heterogeneous catalyst for transfer reduction, that can be easily handled or stored under ambient conditions, is very desirable.
This supported gold catalyst is highly efficient and chemoselective for the reduction of carbonyl and nitro groups under transfer hydrogenation conditions. Cao and colleagues conducted five successive runs without any drop in the reaction rate, demonstrating the efficiency and stability of the new catalyst.
Original publication: Yong Cao et al., Chem. Commun., 2008