Asymmetric Lewis Acid Catalysis in Water: alpha-Amino Acids as Effective Ligands in Aqueous Biphasic Catalytic Michael Additions

Karolina Aplander, Rui Ding, Mikhail Krasavin, U. Marcus Lindstrom, Johan Wennerberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)


This article explores the potential of native a-amino acids as chiral ligands in aqueous asymmetric Lewis acid catalysis, employing the C-C bond forming Michael addition as a model reaction. Some insights are provided regarding the details of Yb(OTf)(3)/alpha-amino acid-catalyzed Michael additions in water through new kinetic data as well as studies on how both yield and selectivity are influenced by variations in metal/ligand ratio, pH, temperature, and structure of the a-amino acid, Through this investigation it was found that reaction conditions that require only 5 mol-% of the Lewis acid, provides enantiomeric excesses of up to 79 % and is applicable to a wider range of donors and acceptors than previously demonstrated. Importantly, it was also demonstrated that the a-amino acid complexed ytterbium. catalyst might have potential for large-scale applications as it displays not only large ligand accelerations, but also good solubility and stability in water. It can be recycled multiple times without appreciable loss of activity. The result is a promising example of a water-compatible chiral Lewis acid. ((C) Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 69451 Weinheim, Germany, 2009)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-821
JournalEuropean Journal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Organic chemistry (S/LTH) (011001240)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Organic Chemistry


  • Homogeneous catalysis
  • Asymmetric catalysis
  • Water-tolerant Lewis
  • acids
  • Michael addition
  • Recyclable catalyst
  • Amino acids
  • Reaction mechanisms


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