Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Fun: Sweet Cardamom (Peroxide)

Rice pudding. Ginger snaps. And...malaria?

That's what'll be going through my head next time I cook with cardamom, thanks to Tom Maimone and coworkers (UC-Berkeley) and their under-the-wire JACS ASAP from yesterday afternoon. The title and abstract scratch all the Baran lab alumni itches: 1) biosynthetically inspired, 2) novel mechanisms, 3) scalable, 4) just four steps! And hey, we're making stable endoperoxides, which all the cool kids are into nowadays.

Not their actual abstract graphic...
As Maimone points out, the latent symmetry of the final product offers a really neat assembly strategy. The group McMurrys together two units of (-)-myrtenal, then hits it with singlet oxygen, initially forming a 6-membered endoperoxide they fragment / rearrange with base. A gentle oxidation (DMP) sets them up for the wild step: stitching together a 7-membered endoperoxide using Mn(III)*, a radical source, a silane reducing agent, and even more oxygen. Simple phosphine reduction knocks down the last hydroperoxide into an alcohol, and the whole target (7 stereocenters!) falls out as a single stereoisomer.

Pretty sweet.

P.S. - Since the group's made over half a gram in just this first push, I'd assume an efficacy paper against live Plasmodium parasite hot on the heels of this one...

*We're apparently already calling this the "Shenvi catalyst"...wasn't this only two months ago?


  1. Really like this paper.

    Pointless pedantry: 'McMurry', not 'McMurray' (

  2. No, please do! I'm a pedantry backer, myself.
    (Also, fixed!)