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Related Reactions
Synthesis of amides

Ritter Reaction

The 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 work-up.

Recent Literature

An efficient method for the conversion of aromatic and aliphatic nitriles to the corresponding N-tert-butyl amides: a modified Ritter reaction
K. L. Reddy, Tetrahedron Lett., 2003, 44, 1453-1455

Synthesis of N-Benzhydrylamides from Nitriles by Ritter Reactions in Formic Acid
G. C. Gullickson, D. E. Lewis, Synthesis, 2003, 681-684.

One-Pot Synthesis of Isocyanides from Alcohols
I. Okada, Y. Kitano, Synthesis, 2011, 3997-4002.

A direct difunctionalization protocol of alkenes with nitriles and thiols under metal-free synthesis conditions provides various β-acetamido sulfides with very good yields simply by using inexpensive molecular iodine as a catalyst, DMSO as a mild oxidant, and readily available thiols as thiolating reagents.
H. Cui, X. Liu, W. Wei, D. Yang, C. He, T. Zhang, H. Wang, J. Org. Chem., 2016, 81, 2252-2260.

A transition-metal-free, direct, and efficient acetamidosulphenylation reaction of alkenes using nitriles as the nucleophiles offers a broad substrate scope and high regioselectivity and provides straightforward access to acetamidosulfide derivatives in good yields via a radical process.
Y. Zheng, Y. He, G. Rong, X. Zhang, Y. Wang, K. Dong, X. Xu, J. Mao, Org. Lett., 2015, 17, 5444-5447.

In a direct and efficient method for the acetamidosulfenylation reaction of alkenes, NaI was used as a catalyst, DMSO as the oxidant, nitriles as both the solvent and nucleophiles and stable, readily available Bunte salts as thiolating reagents. The reactions were carried out under mild conditions to provide β-acetamido sulfides in good yields. Moreover, the reaction can be performed with alcohols as nucleophiles.
R. Zhang, Z. Yan, D. Wang, Y. Wang, S. Lin, Synlett, 2017, 28, 1195-1200.

A CAN-Induced Cyclodimerization-Ritter Trapping Strategy for the One-Pot Synthesis of 1-Amino-4-aryltetralins from Styrenes
V. Nair, R. Rajan, N. P. Rath, Org. Lett., 2002, 4, 1575-1577.