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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. 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