Ruthenium-catalysed reductive cleavage reactions of allylic carboxylates and carbonates with formic acid and triethylamine to give olefins were explored. As an application of the ruthenium-catalysed processes, a new synthetic route to α-hydroxy acids has been discovered. The reductive cleavage of allylic esters is considered to proceed through π-allylruthenium intermediates. © 1994.
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