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A biosynthetically-inspired synthetic route to substituted furans and its application to the total synthesis of the furan fatty acid f5

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posted on 27.11.2018, 16:29 by Robert J. Lee
Dietary fish oil supplementation has long been shown to have significant health benefits, largely stemming from the anti-inflammatory activity of the ω-3 and ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) present in fish oils. The anti-inflammatory properties of these fatty acids has been linked to beneficial health effects, such as protecting the heart, in individuals consuming diets rich in fish, or supplemented with fish oils. These effects are highly notable in the Māori people native to coastal regions of New Zealand; the significantly lower rates of heart problems compared to the inland populous has been attributed to the consumption of the green lipped mussel Perna Canaliculus. Commercially available health supplements based on the New Zealand green lipped mussel include a freeze-dried powder and a lipid extract (Lyprinol®), the latter of which has shown anti-inflammatory properties comparable to classical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Naproxen. GCMS analysis of Lyprinol by Murphy et al. showed the presence of a class of ω-4 and ω-6 PUFAs bearing a highly electron rich tri- or tetra-alkyl furan ring, which were designated furan fatty acids (F-acids). Due to their instability, isolation of F-acids from natural sources cannot be carried out and a general synthetic route toward this class of natural products was required. To accomplish this, the biosynthesis of F-acids was mimicked by utilising an oxidation of 1,3-dienes, followed by a dehydration/aromatisation to generate the heterocyclic furan ring. Singlet oxygen was chosen as the means of oxidising the conjugated dienes giving endoperoxides. To mimic the biological aromatisation of the peroxide intermediates the Appel reagent was chosen and, in a novel application of the reagent, was exploited as a mild, metal free method of dehydrating the cyclic peroxides to their corresponding furans. The biomimetic furan synthesis was applied toward a selection of 1,3-diene substrates bearing a range of pre-installed functionalities and substitution patterns including alkyl, aryl, alkenes, cyclopropyl rings, silyl ethers, and esters, alongside being applied to the total synthesis of the furan fatty acid F5. A brief exploration of the possibility of performing the aromatisation reaction under catalytic conditions was carried out, to determine whether endoperoxides could be converted to furans without needing a stoichiometric quantity of Appel reagent, by harnessing a catalytic quantity of triphenylphosphine oxide and regenerating the active P(V) species via reaction with oxalyl chloride. Furthermore, an optimisation study was carried out using a simple design of experiments procedure to ascertain the ideal conditions for carrying out the Appel-type dehydration of endoperoxides. Finally, the scope of the reaction sequence was expanded to be performed in a continuous flow reactor, with telescoping of the singlet oxygen diene oxidation and Appel-type aromatisation to increase oxidation yields and to omit the requirement for isolation of peroxide intermediates, and was applied to the synthesis of a selection of 2,5-diaryl furan motifs.


Loughborough University.



  • Science


  • Chemistry


© Robert Jack Lee

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.