Oxidative Decarboxylation of Acids by Lead Tetraacetate

Sheldon, Roger A.; Kochi, Jay K.


Lead tetracetate, one of the most versatile oxidizing agents know in organic chemistry, is capable of reacting with a variety of common functional groups; its use in organic chemistry has been reviewed. The purpose of this chapter is to review the oxidative process involving the decarboxylation of acids, whereby carboxylic acids are converted to a variety of compounds depending on experimental conditions, e.g, solvent, structure of substrates, and presence of additives. The primary objective here is to evaluate critically the usefulness of this reaction in organic synthesis. Decarboxylation of alpha-hydroxy and alpha-amino acids by lead tetraacetate has been known for many years. Khararaschn and co-workers reported exhaustive products studies of the decomposition of lead tetraacetate in acetic acid. Sodium acetate accelerates the reduction of lead tetraacetate but no carbon dioxides liberated. Mosher and Kahr also examined the thermal decomposition of various organic acids by lead tetraacetate. Since then many studies on the mechanism and synthetic utility of these reaction and its modifications have been reported.