Base catalysis in the synthesis of fine chemicals

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The catalytic properties of hydrotalcites are investigated for reactions of aldolisation, Meerwein–Ponndorf–Verley hydrogenations, epoxidations and oxidations, Michael and Wadsworth–Emmons additions. Excellent yields have been reported using mild conditions and catalysts which can be easily separated from the reaction medium and could be regenerated. The catalytic properties are controlled by the activation of the solid, and traces of chlorine appear to be deleterious. In many cases rehydration increases activity dramatically. Solid bases give a very specific catalysis for instance with Michael or Wadsworth–Emmons reactions of aldolisable compounds due to the exclusion of carbonyls from the surface by the other reactant.

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