Facile Access to Amides from Oxygenated or Unsaturated Organic Compounds by Metal Oxide Nanocatalysts Derived from Single-Source Molecular Precursors

Oxidative amidation is a valuable process for the transformation of oxygenated organic compounds to valuable amides. However, the reaction is severely limited by the use of an expensive catalyst and limited substrate scope. To circumvent these limitations, designing a transition-metal-based nanocatalyst via more straightforward and economical methodology with superior catalytic performances with broad substrate scope is desirable. To resolve the aforementioned issues, we report a facile method for the synthesis of nanocatalysts NiO and CuO by the sol–gel-assisted thermal decomposition of complexes [Ni­(hep-H)­(H<sub>2</sub>O)<sub>4</sub>]­SO<sub>4</sub> (<b>SSMP-1</b>) and [Cu­(μ-hep)­(BA)]<sub>2</sub> (<b>SSMP-2</b>) [hep-H = 2-(2-hydroxylethyl)­pyridine; BA = benzoic acid] as single-source molecular precursors (SSMPs) for the oxidative amidation of benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, and BA by using <i>N</i>,<i>N</i>-dimethylformamide (DMF) as the solvent and as an amine source, in the presence of <i>tert</i>-butylhydroperoxide (TBHP) as the oxidant, at <i>T</i> = 80 °C. In addition to nanocatalysts NiO and CuO, our previously reported Co/CoO nanocatalyst (CoNC), derived from the complex [Co<sup>II</sup>(hep-H)­(H<sub>2</sub>O)<sub>4</sub>]­SO<sub>4</sub> (<b>A</b>) as an SSMP, was also explored for the aforementioned reaction. Also, we have carefully investigated the difference in the catalytic performance of Co-, Ni-, and Cu-based nanoparticles synthesized from the SSMP for the conversion of various oxygenated and unsaturated organic compounds to their respective amides. Among all, CuO showed an optimum catalytic performance for the oxidative amidation of various oxygenated and unsaturated organic compounds with a broad reaction scope. Finally, CuO can be recovered unaltered and reused for several (six times) recycles without any loss in catalytic activity.