Metal-Catalysed Transfer Hydrogenation of Ketones

  • Bogdan Štefane
  • Franc Požgan
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Hydrogen Transfer Reactions


We highlight recent developments of catalytic transfer hydrogenation of ketones promoted by transition metals, while placing it within its historical context. Since optically active secondary alcohols are important building blocks in fine chemicals synthesis, the focus of this review is devoted to chiral catalyst types which are capable of inducing high stereoselectivities. Ruthenium complexes still represent the largest part of the catalysts, but other metals (e.g. Fe) are rapidly penetrating this field. While homogeneous transfer hydrogenation catalysts in some cases approach enzymatic performance, the interest in heterogeneous catalysts is constantly growing because of their reusability. Despite excellent activity, selectivity and compatibility of metal complexes with a variety of functional groups, no universal catalysts exist. Development of future catalyst systems is directed towards reaching as high as possible activity with low catalyst loadings, using “greener” conditions, and being able to operate under mild conditions and in a highly selective manner for a broad range of substrates.


Ketones Asymmetric transfer hydrogenation Chiral metal catalysts Recyclable catalysts Transfer hydrogenation in water 



The financial support from the Research Agency of Slovenia through Grant P1-0179 is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical TechnologyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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