• β-lactams;
  • bond cleavage;
  • density functional calculations;
  • oxazin-3-ones;
  • reaction mechanisms;
  • ring expansion


The reactivity of 3-hydroxy-4-(1,2-dihydroxyethyl)-β-lactams with regard to the oxidant sodium periodate was evaluated, unexpectedly resulting in the exclusive formation of new 2-hydroxy-1,4-oxazin-3-ones through a C3[BOND]C4 bond cleavage of the intermediate 4-formyl-3-hydroxy-β-lactams followed by a ring expansion. This peculiar transformation stands in sharp contrast with the known NaIO4-mediated oxidation of 3-alkoxy- and 3-phenoxy-4-(1,2-dihydroxyethyl)-β-lactams, which exclusively leads to the corresponding 4-formyl-β-lactams without a subsequent ring enlargement. In addition, this new class of functionalized oxazin-3-ones was further evaluated for its potential use as building blocks in the synthesis of a variety of differently substituted oxazin-3-ones, morpholin-3-ones and pyrazinones. Furthermore, additional insights into the mechanism and the factors governing this new ring-expansion reaction were provided by means of density functional theory calculations.