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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+H332-H315-H319-H335
Harmful if swallowed. Harmful in contact with skin. Harmful if inhaled. Causes skin irritation. Causes serious eye irritation. May cause respiratory irritation.
Precautionary Statements: P264b-P270-P271-P280-P301+P312-P302+P352-P304+P340-P305+P351+P338-P312-P330-P332+P313-P362-P501c
Wash face, hands and any exposed skin thoroughly after handling Do not eat, drink or smoke when using this product. Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection. IF SWALLOWED: Call a POISON CENTER or doctor/physician if you feel unwell. IF ON SKIN: Wash with plenty of soap and water. IF INHALED: Remove to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. Rinse mouth. If skin irritation occurs: Get medical advice/attention. Take off contaminated clothing and wash before reuse. Dispose of contents/ container to an approved waste disposal plant