The hydrogenation of myrcene catalyzed by Ru, Cr, Ir and Rh complexes leads to the formation of a complex mixture of mono-, di- and trihydrogenated products. Seven major products have been characterized, showing that they arise from the sigma-alkyl and/or eta(3)-allyl intermediates formed by the reaction of metal catalysts with both terminal C=C bonds of myrcene. A good control of chemoselectivity has been achieved through the appropriate choice of the metal and reaction conditions. Monohydrogenated products have been obtained with excellent combined selectivity of 95-98% at a high conversion of myrcene (> 80%). Among the catalysts studied, rhodium complexes show the highest activity and selectivity, especially at temperatures lower than 100 degrees C. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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