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Unusual Reactivity of Dimethylsulfoxonium Methylide with Esters

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Abstract

The dimethylsulfoxonium methylide was treated with esters under mild conditions to rapidly afford the corresponding carboxylic acids at room temperature. Moreover, by performing the procedure on enantiopure substrates, it was demonstrated that the reaction occurs without racemization. 18O-labeled reagents showed that the reaction does not proceed through an ester hydrolysis mechanism. The reactions are characterized by an unusual reactivity of the dimethylsulfoxonium methylide. This methodology is general and can be considered a valid alternate route for ester cleavage when a substrate is sensitive to hydrolysis conditions.

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