Direct electrochemical oxidation of abietane diterpene acids

05 April 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Abietic and dehydroabietic acids are widely present in gum rosin (colophony). Transformation of the corresponding methyl ester derivatives of these abietane diterpenes have been reported, including several oxidation protocols. However, direct oxidation of the naturally occurring carboxylic acids has been less investigated. Herein we report an electrochemical method for the benzylic oxidation of dehydroabietic acid and for the olefin oxidation of abietic acid, which allows the sustainable preparation of the corresponding abietane-type ketones in gram-scale. Moreover, this method can be applied to the corresponding methyl ester derivatives. Furthermore, we conducted competitive experiments between the two acids and show that the methodology can be applied directly to the gum rosin.


abietic acid
dehydroabietic acid

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Contains the following details: Selection of reported composition of resin acids and biological activity of abietanes, reported protocols for olefin oxidation of methyl abietate and benzylic oxidation of methyl dehydroabietate, experimental procedures and spectral data.


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