• amides;
  • gold;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • hydration;
  • nitriles
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The power of gold: The hydration of nitriles is a very important transformation to access amides, one of the most significant functional groups in chemistry. In their Communication on page 1392, Yong Cao and co-workers from Fudan University describe the extraordinary performance of air-stable and recyclable solid Au-based catalysts for aqueous hydration of nitriles into amides under mild, neutral conditions in an air atmosphere. The cover image illustrates the catalytic potential of heterogeneous gold for efficient and clean hydration of nitriles to produce useful amides. This finding may have tremendous conceptual and practical implications because traditional approaches to this reaction are air-sensitive or make use ofnon-recyclable catalysts, as well as requiring organic solvents.