Ruthenacycles, which are easily prepared in a single step by reaction between enantiopure aromatic amines and [Ru(arene)Cl2]2 in the presence of NaOH and KPF6, are very good asymmetric transfer hydrogenation catalysts. A range of aromatic ketones were reduced using isopropanol in good yields with ee’s up to 98%. Iridacycles, which are prepared in similar fashion from [IrCp*Cl2]2 are excellent catalysts for the racemisation of secondary alcohols and chlorohydrins at room temperature. This allowed the development of a new dynamic kinetic resolution of chlorohydrins to the enantiopure epoxides in up to 90% yield and 98% enantiomeric excess (ee) using a mutant of the enzyme Haloalcohol dehalogenase C and an iridacycle as racemisation catalyst.
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