Hydroxide surrogate

A hydroxide surrogate makes it easier to synthesize complex phenolic compounds without the harsh conditions usually needed. The system developed by chemists at Merck & Co., Inc. in Rahway, New Jersey, USA, could open up new routes to a wide range of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and the products of materials science many of which have a phenolic moiety. A palladium catalyst works in concert with benzaldehyde oxime, which acts as the hydroxide surrogate precluding the need for harsh base and allowing direct hydroxylation of aryl halides, for instance.