Formic Acid Mediated Direct Z-Selective Reductive Coupling of Dienes and Aldehydes

We demonstrate that formic acid mediates the Rh-catalyzed, Z-selective coupling of dienes and aldehydes. The process is distinguished by broad tolerance towards reducible or electrophilic groups. Kinetic analysis suggests that generation of the catalytically active Rh-intermediate by ligand dissociation is the rate determining step. The rapid generation and trapping of Rh-allyl intermediates is key to preventing chain-walking isomerization events that plague related protocols. Insights gained through this study may have wider implications in selective metal-catalyzed hydrofunctionalization reactions.