The catalytic performance of a set of metal–organic frameworks [CuBTC, FeBTC, MIL-100(Fe), MIL-100(Cr), ZIF-8, MIL-53(Al)] was investigated in the Prins condensation of β-pinene with formaldehyde and compared with the catalytic behavior of conventional aluminosilicate zeolites BEA and FAU and titanosilicate zeolite MFI (TS-1). The activity of the investigated metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) increased with the increasing concentration of accessible Lewis acid sites in the order ZIF-8<MIL-53(Al)<FeBTC<MIL-100(Cr)<MIL-100(Fe). Unwanted β-pinene-like isomerization takes place on the strong Brønsted acid sites of zeolites BEA and FAU, which showed significantly lower selectivity to the target nopol than the MOFs. Its high activity, the preservation of its structure and active sites, and the possibility to use it in at least three catalytic cycles without loss of activity make MIL-100 (Fe) the best performing catalyst of the series for the Prins condensation of β-pinene and paraformaldehyde. Our report exemplifies the advantages of MOFs over zeolites as solid catalysts in liquid-phase reactions for the production of fine chemicals.
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