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Catalytic Cleavage of Benzyl Ethers

Catalytic Benzyl Ether Cleavage: Introduction

Reaction principle

Benzyl alcohols and benzyl ethers can be hydrogenated catalytically, thereby breaking the bond between the benzylic carbon atom and the oxygen atom with simultaneous formation of a new bond to hydrogen. This transformation, called hydrogenolysis, is made possible through the particular reactivity of the benzyl group. Catalytic hydrogenolysis of other alcohols and ethers is not possible. Therefore, benzyl ethers are good protecting groups for alcohols, especially when the protecting group will be removed under neutral conditions. Most other alcohol protecting groups are cleaved under acidic conditions.


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