Synthesis of 1-Formyldipyrromethanes

1-Formyldipyrromethanes are versatile precursors to porphyrins and chlorins. Two methods of synthesis of 1-formyldipyrromethanes have been investigated:  (1) Vilsmeier formylation followed by selective removal of the unwanted 1,9-diformyldipyrromethane by dialkyltin complexation and (2) reaction with mesitylmagnesium bromide (MesMgBr) followed by formylation with phenyl formate. The two approaches are complementary (acidic versus basic conditions; statistical versus selective formylation). The latter was found to be more efficient for the preparation of 1-formyldipyrromethanes.