Surprise, surprise! The total synthesis of the marine natural product pestalone (1), a highly substituted benzophenone with strong antibiotic acitivity, has provided insight into the surprising tendency of this and related molecules to undergo intramolecular Cannizzaro–Tishchenko-type reactions. Pestalone can be readily converted into pestalachloride A, a strongly antifungal metabolite isolated from an endophytic fungus, by simple treatment with ammonia at pH 8.
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