The scarcity of precious metals has led to the development of sustainable strategies for metal-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. The establishment of new catalytic methods using iron is attractive owing to the low cost, abundance, ready availability, and very low toxicity of iron. In the last few years, sustainable methods for iron-catalyzed cross-couplings have entered the critical area of pharmaceutical research. Most notably, iron is one of the very few metals that have been successfully field-tested as highly effective base-metal catalysts in practical, kilogram-scale industrial cross-couplings. In this Minireview, we critically discuss the strategic benefits of using iron catalysts as green and sustainable alternatives to precious metals in cross-coupling applications for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals. The Minireview provides an essential introduction to the fundamental aspects of practical iron catalysis, highlights areas for improvement, and identifies new fields to be explored.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Grignard reagents
- base-metal catalysis
- iron catalysis