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Benzofurans, alternatively known as coumarone or benzo[b]furan, are heterocyclic compounds having fused benzene and furan rings. Benzofurans are compounds with a planar structure having 10 pi electrons that include the lone pair on oxygen atom, which makes it more susceptible to electrophilic attack. Introduction of benzofurans in organic synthesis, particularly drug synthesis, involves generally the use of their metalated species as nucleophiles in addition reactions or in metal-catalysed cross-coupling reactions.
Benzofurans behave like condensed aromatic systems and are mainly found in fractions of coal tar. Benzofurans are stable towards alkali and readily polymerize on treatment with sulfuric acid, due to which they are useful for the preparation of low cost chemically relatively inert resins. In nature, benzofurans have occupied an important role among the plant phenols & several pharmacologically active compounds. Benzofurans have also made significant and distinctive contributions to biology. They exhibit several biological activities that range from antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitubercular, antiplasmodial, insecticidal, and trypanocidal to antagonists for the H3 receptor and angiotensin II (Dawood, KM. Benzofuran Derivatives: a Patent Review. Expert Opin. Ther. Pat. 2013, 23(9), 1133-56).