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Open Access Open Badges Methodology

Remarkable influence of microwave heating on Morita-baylis-Hillman reaction in PEG-200

A Aravind, Sanil George and Santhosh Kumar*

Author Affiliations

Chemical Biology Laboratory, Division of Molecular Medicine and Disease Biology, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 695014, India

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Chemistry Central Journal 2012, 6:30  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-6-30

Published: 11 April 2012



Morita Baylis Hillman (MBH) reaction is used to introduce carbon-carbon or carbon-heteroatom bond in a molecule. The major drawback of this reaction is the relatively low product yield and long reaction time. Though notable changes have been made to improve the reaction rate and yield of MBH adduct by various groups, a reliable synthetic procedure under ambient temperature in presence moisture and air is remain unsolved. Continuing the effort to improve the rate and yield, we report here an eco-friendly and cost-effective method to generate MBH adducts. Non-volatile polyethylene glycol-200 is used as reusable solvents and the reaction was carried out under the influence of microwave energy.


Microwave irradiation have a remarkable influence on PEG suspended 4-Diazabicyclo [2.2.2] octane (DABCO) catalysed MBH reaction between aldehydes and ethyl acrylate. Molecular weight of the PEG is found to have a significant influence on the reaction yield. PEG-200 was the most efficient solvent and in combination with DABCO, the medium can be recycled upto three more runs. This reaction condition is successfully applied to obtain MBH adduct of five different aldehydes in very short time with excellent yield and the required catalyst concentration was very low compared to standard MBH reaction. Since the MBH adduct is an important reactive intermediates for many complex organic syntheses, this approach can be successfully utilised as an alternative to existing reaction conditions.


A new method was developed to improve the reaction rate and yield of MBH reaction The PEG 200-DABCO combination provides a sustainable, non-volatile, recyclable and environment friendly solvent medium to produce MBH adducts. This medium in combination with microwave energy proved to be very effective to introduce a new carbon-carbon or a carbon-heteroatom bond in a molecule.

Graphical abstract