The summer will be winding down soon and I am hoping to get back on track with posting.
There is an interesting paper from David Milstein (Weizmann Institute of Science) in the August 10th issue of Science describing the synthesis of amides from alcohols and amines. The method employs a special Ruthenium catalyst that effects the removal of two equivalents of H2, as shown below, in order to form the amide group. What makes this method attractive is that it requires only a small amount of catalyst, 0.1 mol%, and is stoichiometric for both the alcohol and amine starting materials. Nonetheless, it might be hampered by the fact that the catalyst must be handled under strictly controlled Argon-atmosperic conditions (Glove box) and so far has only been demonstrated on millimolar scale reactions.