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Novel Synthesis of Substituted Imidazoles Disclosure Number: IPCOM000029568D
Publication Date: 2004-Jul-07

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Oxidation of an aldehyde by air in the presence of ammonia generates a substituted imidazole as the major or primary product with the formation of a lesser amount of amide as a by-product. For example, heating a solution of propionaldehyde in aqueous ammonia under 500 psi of air generates 2 ethyl 4 methylimidazole as the major product along with a smaller amount of propionamide. The ratio of imidazole to amide products depends on reaction conditions such as temperature and aldehyde concentration. The yield of imidazole can be at least 75% and the imidazole:amide ratio can be at least 9:1. This novel reaction produces commercially valuable imidazoles in good yield in a single step from very inexpensive starting materials, namely, aldehyde, air and ammonia.