When 2,4-dimethylphenol is anodically treated, a dehydrotetramer with four contiguous stereocentres is readily obtained on a multi-gram scale. The substitution of a 2,4-dimethyl-phenoxy fragment by several amines was demonstrated, and the best results were obtained with primary amines. Optically pure α-chiral aliphatic amines yield diastereomeric mixtures that can be separated in most cases. The basic amine causes a partial hemiketal-opening of the bisbenzofuran moiety leading to an equilibrium within an α,β-unsaturated cyclohexenone. This dynamic behaviour occurs on the time scale of NMR spectroscopy and is also found by X-ray analysis providing a consistent picture.
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