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Keywords:

  • carboxylic acids;
  • cross-coupling;
  • homogeneous catalysis;
  • transition metals

Abstract

In organic molecules carboxylic acid groups are among the most common functionalities. Activated derivatives of carboxylic acids have long served as versatile connection points in derivatizations and in the construction of carbon frameworks. In more recent years numerous catalytic transformations have been discovered which have made it possible for carboxylic acids to be used as building blocks without the need for additional activation steps. A large number of different product classes have become accessible from this single functionality along multifaceted reaction pathways. The frontispiece illustrates an important reason for this: In the catalytic cycles carbon monoxide gas can be released from acyl metal complexes, and gaseous carbon dioxide from carboxylate complexes, with different organometallic species being formed in each case. Thus, carboxylic acids can be used as synthetic equivalents of acyl, aryl, or alkyl halides, as well as organometallic reagents. This review provides an overview of interesting catalytic transformations of carboxylic acids and a number of derivatives accessible from them in situ. It serves to provide an invitation to complement, refine, and use these new methods in organic synthesis.