What is it about?

We have developed a method that allows us to use visible light to transform certain types of molecules. Specifically, we can attach new chemical groups to carbon-carbon double bonds in a process called hydroacylation and epoxyacylation. We achieve this by using a special substance called methylene blue, which acts as a catalyst and helps the reaction take place under the influence of light. To make it environmentally friendly, we use pure water as the solvent. The exciting part is that we can use a wide range of starting materials, including different types of aldehydes and olefins, which are common components in many chemical reactions. We have also successfully scaled up the process to larger quantities without affecting the outcome.

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Why is it important?

We believe this work will be of substantial interest to the synthetic community because of the unification feature represented by the range of substrates employed in two different transformations using only one protocol. It also has the potential to be valuable for scientists working in the field of photocatalysis and opens up new possibilities for structural diversity.


I believe this work has shown that interesting transformations can be performed using very simple reaction conditions and cheap/easy-to-handle reagents. The photochemical setup is homemade and allows the application of the method in every laboratory, thus contributing to the popularization of photoredox chemistry.

Airton Salles
State University of Campinas (UNICAMP)

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Visible-Light-Driven Epoxyacylation and Hydroacylation of Olefins Using Methylene Blue/Persulfate System in Water, The Journal of Organic Chemistry, July 2018, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b01026.
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