Generally, reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion. A reducing agent (also called a reductant or reducer) is an element (such as calcium) or compound that loses (or “donates”) an electron to another chemical species in a redox chemical reaction. In organic chemistry, reduction refers to the addition of hydrogen to a molecule specifically. Furthermore, reduction in organic chemistry is not limited to the hydrogen reaction. It also contains other functional group on reductions, as following lists:
Carboxylic acids, esters, and acid halides can be reduced to either aldehydes or a step further to primary alcohols even alkanes, depending on the strength of the reaction agent which is illustrated by the fig.2; aldehydes and ketones can be reduced respectively to primary and secondary alcohols. In deoxygenating, the alcohol groups in molecule can be further reduced and removed altogether.
Figure 1. Carbonyl reduction
Nitrile reduction is the most economical route available for the production of primary amines. As a powerful tool, nitriles can also be reduced to aldehydes via the Stephen aldehyde synthesis. Methods for the hydrogenation of carbon-nitrogen double bonds are less general compared to hydrogenation to a ketone. Imines could be reduced enantioselectively using amounts of chiral metal hydrides which is an easy way to implement. Reduction with hydrosilanes is a second alternative to transition-metal catalyzed hydrogenation.
Nitro compounds are classified into two groups: aliphatic nitro compounds and aromatic nitro compounds. As the first functional groups to be reduced, the reduction of the nitro group is of importance in synthesis. It’s worthwhile to design an effective road via nitro and consider the effect of the nitro group.
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