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Keywords:

  • amines;
  • amino alcohols;
  • asymmetric catalysis;
  • Henry reaction;
  • Lewis acids
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

A simple assembly of commercially available materials, namely, zinc triflate (Zn(OTf)2), a tertiary amine base (iPr2EtN), and reusable (+)-N-methylephedrine, effectively activates the Henry reaction between aldehydes and nitromethane (see scheme). The catalytic system can be used in substoichiometric quantities and leads to good yields and enantioselectivities.