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Reduction of azo compounds

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An efficient Fe/CaCl2 system enables the reduction of nitroarenes and reductive cleavage of azo compounds by catalytic transfer hydrogenation in the presence of sensitive functional groups including halides, carbonyl, aldehyde, acetyl, nitrile, and ester substituents with excellent yields. The simple experimental procedure and easy purification make the protocol advantageous.
S. Chandrappa, T. Vinaya, T. Ramakrishnappa, K. S. Rangappa, Synlett, 2010, 3019-3022.


Various azobenzenes have been reduced to the corresponding hydrazines by using an aqueous solution of sodium dithionite. The yield is generally excellent, but two compounds, viz. 4,4-dimethoxyazobenzene and 2,2,4,4,6,6-hexamethylazobenzene, gave no hydrazine at all.
L. K. Sydnes, S. Elmi, P. Heggen, B. Holmelid, D. Malthe-Sørensen, Synlett, 2007, 1695-1696.