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The Reformatsky Reaction

  1. Michael W. Rathke

Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0471264180.or022.04

Organic Reactions

Organic Reactions

How to Cite

Rathke, M. W. 2011. The Reformatsky Reaction. Organic Reactions. 22:4:423–460.

Author Information

  1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2011


The Reformatsky reaction is the reaction of a carbonyl compound, usually an aldehyde or a ketone, with an alpha-haloester in the presence of zinc metal to furnish, after hydrolysis, a β-hydoxyester. Subsequent dehydration of the hydroxyester is commonly carried out to form an alpha, β-unsaturated ester. This chapter summarizes some of the more important advances in the understanding and use of the Reformatsky reaction since the original chapter was published in volume 1 of this series.


  • Reformatsky reaction;
  • side reactions;
  • stereochemistry;
  • variations;
  • zinc;
  • promoters;
  • solvents;
  • two-step procedures;
  • comparisons with other methods;
  • experimental procedures