DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1589079
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Iron-Catalyzed C3-Formylation of Indoles with Formaldehyde and Aqueous Ammonia under Air

Qing-Dong Wang, Bin Zhou, Jin-Ming Yang*, Dong Fang, Jiangmeng Ren, Bu-Bing Zeng*
  • School of Pharmacy, East China University of Science and Technology, 130 Meilong Road, Shanghai 200237, P. R. of China   Email:
  • School of Pharmacy, Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng, Jiangsu 224007, P. R. of China   Email:
We thank the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2007AA02Z301), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20141257), the Natural Science Foundation of Yancheng Teachers University (09YCKL021, 14YCKL001), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central University (WY111307) for their generous financial support
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Publication History

Received: 22 May 2017

Accepted after revision: 23 June 2017

Publication Date:
14 August 2017 (eFirst)


An efficient iron-catalyzed C3-selective formylation of free (N–H) or N-substituted indoles was developed by employing formaldehyde and aqueous ammonia, with air as the oxidant. This new method gave 3-formylindoles in moderate to excellent yields with fairly short reaction times. Moreover, this procedure for catalytic formylation of indoles can be applied to gram-scale syntheses.

Supporting Information