Volume 94 Issue 8 | p. 8 | News of The Week
Issue Date: February 22, 2016 | Web Date: February 18, 2016

Chemists Achieve Hydrocyanation Without Using Toxic Hydrogen Cyanide

Organic Synthesis: Safer, reversible transfer reaction to make nitriles opens up new possibilities in chemical synthesis
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Organic SCENE
Keywords: hydrocyanation, hydrogen cyanide, nitrile synthesis, reversible reaction

Hydrocyanation is a go-to reaction for converting an alkene to a nitrile, which is one of the most versatile functional groups available to chemists. The process is used industrially to produce adiponitrile, an intermediate for making nylon. However, it is rarely used in the lab or for fine chemicals production because the hydrogen cyanide required as a reagent is extremely toxic, volatile, and potentially explosive.

Researchers in Germany have now designed an approach to hydrocyanation . . .

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