Process intensification by using well-defined solid catalysts able to perform one-pot multistep reactions is one of the open fronts in heterogeneous catalysis. This is even more relevant if new, more efficient synthesis routes are open. Herein, a gold catalyst was used to synthesize benzimidazoylquinoxalines compounds by two efficient and selective novel methods in a multistep one-pot methodology. The first method involved the synthesis of benzimidazoylquinoxaline compounds with the same substituents in both heterocycles through oxidation–cyclization of glycerol with o-phenylenediamine derivatives, whereas the second one allowed the synthesis of benzimidazoylquinoxalines compounds with different substituents in each aromatic ring through coupling of o-phenylenediamine derivatives with glyceraldehyde in a first stage to produce the benzimidazol compound as an intermediate, followed by an oxidation–cyclization with another o-phenylenediamine compound in a second stage. Both stages were performed by using gold nanoparticles supported on nanoparticulated ceria (Au/CeO2) as the catalyst and air as the oxidant, in absence of any homogeneous reagent. A reaction mechanism has been proposed.
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