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Keywords:

  • acidity;
  • asymmetric catalysis;
  • ketones;
  • ruthenium;
  • transfer hydrogenation
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Much faster, more enantioselective, and more-productive catalysis was attained in the asymmetric transfer hydrogenation of aromatic ketones with the Noyori–Ikariya Ru–Ts-dpen catalyst in water under slightly basic conditions (see scheme). At low pH values, the reaction was much less efficient and appears to operate through a different mechanism.