Aromatic nitriles are prepared efficiently through transition-metal-mediated cyanation of aryl (pseudo)halides with metallic cyano-group sources, such as CuCN, KCN, NaCN, Zn(CN)2, TMSCN, or K4[Fe(CN)6]. However, this approach often suffers from drawbacks, such as the formation of stoichiometric amounts of metal waste, the poisoning of the metal catalysts, or the generation of toxic HCN gas. As a result, a range of “nonmetallic” organic cyano-group sources have been explored for the cyanation of aryl halides and arene CH bonds. This Minireview summarizes types of nonmetallic cyano-group sources and their applications in the preparation of aryl nitriles.
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