Catalytic asymmetric aldol reactions in aqueous media.Chem Soc Rev. 2008 Aug; 37(8):1502-11.CS
Nature has perfected the stereospecific aldol reaction by using aldolase enzymes. While virtually all the biochemical aldol reactions use unmodified donor and acceptor carbonyls and take place under catalytic control in an aqueous environment, the chemical domain of the aldol addition has mostly relied on prior transformation of carbonyl substrates, and the whole process traditionally is carried out in anhydrous solvents. The area of aqua-asymmetric aldol reactions has received much attention recently in light of the perception both of its green chemistry advantages and its analogy to eon-perfected enzyme catalysis. Both chiral metal complexes and small chiral organic molecules have been recently reported to catalyze aldol reactions with relatively high chemical and stereochemical efficiency. This tutorial review describes recent developments in this area.