acid-induced nucleophilic addition of a nitrile to a carbenium ion,
followed by hydrolysis to the corresponding amide.
Mechanism of the Ritter Reaction
Any substrate capable of generating a stable carbenium ion is a suitable
starting material; primary alcohols do not react under these conditions, with
exception of benzylic alcohols:
The carbenium ion adds to the nitrile nitrogen to give a nitrilium ion
intermediate, which undergoes hydrolysis to the corresponding amide upon aqueous
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