Synthesis 2023; 55(18): 3047-3055
DOI: 10.1055/a-2029-0488
Special Issue Electrochemical Organic Synthesis

Catalyst- and Additive-Free Electrochemical CO2 Fixation into Morita–Baylis–Hillman Acetates

Andrea Brunetti
a   Dipartimento di Chimica ‘Giacomo Ciamician’, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, via Selmi 2, 40126, Bologna, Italy
Giulio Bertuzzi
a   Dipartimento di Chimica ‘Giacomo Ciamician’, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, via Selmi 2, 40126, Bologna, Italy
b   Center for Chemical Catalysis – C3, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, via Selmi 2, 40126, Bologna, Italy
Marco Bandini
a   Dipartimento di Chimica ‘Giacomo Ciamician’, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, via Selmi 2, 40126, Bologna, Italy
b   Center for Chemical Catalysis – C3, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, via Selmi 2, 40126, Bologna, Italy
› Author Affiliations
We acknowledge the Università di Bologna (University of Bologna) for financial support. M.B. is also grateful to Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca PRIN-2017 (project 2017W8KNZW).


The electrochemical carboxylation of Morita–Baylis–Hillman (MBH) acetates with CO2 is presented. The process proceeds in the absence of transition-metal catalysts and relies on the cathodic reduction of MBH acetates to generate nucleophilic anions that are able to trap low-pressure CO2. Valuable succinate derivatives are obtained (20 examples) in high yields (up to 90%) and with excellent functional group tolerance. A remarkable substrate-controlled (electronic nature) regioselectivity of the transformation is documented along with a mechanistic rationale based on control experiments.

Supporting Information

Publication History

Received: 23 December 2022

Accepted after revision: 06 February 2023

Accepted Manuscript online:
06 February 2023

Article published online:
28 March 2023

© 2023. Thieme. All rights reserved

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Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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