Summary
An aldol condensation is a condensation reaction in organic chemistry in which two carbonyl moieties (of aldehydes or ketones) react to form a β-hydroxyaldehyde or β-hydroxyketone (an aldol reaction), and this is then followed by dehydration to give a conjugated enone. The overall reaction equation is as follows (where the Rs can be H) Aldol condensations are important in organic synthesis and biochemistry as ways to form carbon–carbon bonds. In its usual form, it involves the nucleophilic addition of a ketone enolate to an aldehyde to form a β-hydroxy ketone, or aldol (aldehyde + alcohol), a structural unit found in many naturally occurring molecules and pharmaceuticals. The term aldol condensation is also commonly used, especially in biochemistry, to refer to just the first (addition) stage of the process—the aldol reaction itself—as catalyzed by aldolases. However, the first step is formally an addition reaction rather than a condensation reaction because it does not involve the loss of a small molecule. The first part of this reaction is an Aldol reaction, the second part a dehydration—an elimination reaction (Involves removal of a water molecule or an alcohol molecule). Dehydration may be accompanied by decarboxylation when an activated carboxyl group is present. The aldol addition product can be dehydrated via two mechanisms; a strong base like potassium t-butoxide, potassium hydroxide or sodium hydride deprotonates the product to an enolate, which eliminates via the E1cB mechanism, while dehydration in acid proceeds via an E1 reaction mechanism. Depending on the nature of the desired product, the aldol condensation may be carried out under two broad types of conditions: kinetic control or thermodynamic control. Both ketones & aldehydes are suitable for aldol condensation reactions. In the examples below, aldehydes are used. Aldol reaction#Crossed-aldol reactant control A crossed aldol condensation is a result of two dissimilar carbonyl compounds containing α-hydrogen(s) undergoing aldol condensation.
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