Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
-In the present review, we report the discovery of the formation of esters and lactones by oxidation of ketones with a peroxide derivative, namely the Baeyer-Villiger reaction. This reaction was first reported by Adolf von Baeyer and Victor Villiger a century ago in 1899, just one year after the oxidant they used (KHSO5) has been described. Furthermore, Baeyer and Villiger established the composition of this new inorganic peroxide and showed that its instability was the reason of a controversy between several European chemists between 1878 and 1893. For the first 50 years the mechanism of the Baeyer-Villiger reaction was a matter of debate. A side product, 1,2,4,5-tetraoxocyclohexane, was ruled out as an intermediate in the ester formation by Dilthey. Criegee postulated a nucleophilic attack of the oxidant on the carbonyl group. This mechanism was confirmed by von E. Doering by a labeling experiment with [18O]benzophenone. The rearrangement step occurs with retention of the stereochemistry at the migrating center. The competitive migration and the rate-determining step are also discussed in this review.
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