Synfacts 2019; 15(06): 0669
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1611614
Organo- and Biocatalysis
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

The Shi Epoxidation

Benjamin List
Manuel J. Scharf
Wang Z.-X, Tu Y, Frohn M, Zhang J.-R, Shi Y. * Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA
An Efficient Catalytic Asymmetric Epoxidation Method.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1997;
119: 11224-11235
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
20 May 2019 (online)



In the late 1990s, the research group of Shi developed the first general effective organic catalyst for the asymmetric epoxidation of nonactivated trans-olefins or trisubstituted olefins with potassium peroxomonosulfate (Oxone). Ketone 1 and its enantiomer ent-1 are readily available from the inexpensive carbohydrates d-fructose and l-sorbose, respectively. Even though terminal olefins and cis-olefins are due to the lack of steric repulsion in the transition state unsuitable substrates in the Shi epoxidation, the method has found wide application in organic synthesis.



Deliberate tuning of the pH is necessary for the reaction to proceed without substantial decomposition of the catalyst through a Baeyer–Villiger oxidation. Thus, an elaborate solvent/buffer system (including metal salts) is required. However, in contrast to the Jacobsen or Sharpless methodologies, the Shi epoxidation does not use transition metals in its catalytic cycle. In addition, the authors developed a further variant that only requires hydrogen peroxide as the oxidant (Tetrahedron Lett. 1999, 40, 8721).