Dialling-in new reactivity into the Shono-type anodic oxidation reaction

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This Personal Account describes the author's groups’ research in the field of electrosynthetic anodic oxidation, beginning with initial trial and error attempts with the Shono oxidation. Early setbacks with complex rotameric amide mixtures, provided the ideal environment for the discovery of the Oxa‐Shono reaction‐Osp2‐Csp3 bond cleavage of esters‐providing two useful products in one‐step: aldehyde selective oxidation level products and a mild de‐esterification method to afford carboxylic acids in the process. The development of the Oxa‐Shono reaction provided the impetus for the discovery of other electrically propelled‐Nsp2‐Csp2 and Nsp2‐Csp3‐bond breaking reactions in bioactive amide and sulfonamide systems. Understanding the voltammetric behaviour of the molecule under study, switching between controlled current‐ or controlled potential‐ electrolysis, and restricting electron flow (the reagent), affords exquisite control over the reaction outcomes in batch and flow. Importantly, this bio‐inspired advance in electrosynthetic dealkylation chemistry mimics the metabolic outcomes observed in nature.


Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Chemical Record
Early online date4 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Nov 2020


  • Anodic oxidation, bond cleavage, dealkylation, electrosynthesis, Shono