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Diethyl cyanomethyl phosphonate is used as an intermediate in Horner-Emmons reaction for the synthesis of substituted nitriles and their amide and heterocyclic derivatives. It is known as a modified Wittig reagent used in the preparation of alpha, beta-unsaturated nitriles from ketones or aldehydes like 3-hydroxy-3-methylbutanal. It reacts with epoxides and nitrones to prepare cyano-substituted cyclopropanes and aziridines respectively. It is actively involved in the synthesis of alpha-arylated alkanenitriles via reaction with aryl iodides in presence of CuI.
Horner-Wadsworth-Emmons olefination converts carbonyl compounds to substituted acrylonitriles: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 83, 1733 (1961); J. Org. Chem., 30, 505 (1965). LiOH has been found to be an effective base for this reaction: Tetrahedron Lett., 44, 1333 (2003). See Appendix 1. See also 3-Coumaranone, A10202.
The active methylene group can be monoalkylated under phase transfer conditions with alkyl iodides or allylic or benzylic bromides: Synthesis, 516 (1975). Use of alumina as base leads predominantly to the Knoevenagel product rather than the Wadsworth-Emmons: Tetrahedron, 41, 1259 (1985).
Grun, A.; Balint, E.; Keglevich, G. Solid-Liquid Phase C-Alkylation of Active Methylene Containing Compounds under Microwave Conditions. Catalysts 2015, 5 (2), 634-652.
Dai, Y.; Yu, B. Total synthesis of astrosterioside A, an anti-inflammatory asterosaponin. Chem. Commun. 2015, 51 (72), 13826-13829.
Hazard Statements: H302-H312-H331-H315-H319
Harmful if swallowed. Harmful in contact with skin. Toxic if inhaled. Causes skin irritation. Causes serious eye irritation.
Precautionary Statements: P260-P201-P280g-P304+P340-P405-P501a
Do not breathe dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray. Obtain special instructions before use. Wear protective gloves. IF INHALED: Remove to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. Store locked up. Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/national/international regulations.