2014 Volume 63 Issue 5 Pages 539-544
A simple and convenient method has been developed for the synthesis of esters from the corresponding carboxylic acids and alkyl halides by using a stoichiometric amount of tetrabutylammonium fluoride (Bu4NF) as the base. The reaction of carboxylic acids and a Bu4NF/THF solution in DMF or THF as the solvent generates carboxylate ions in situ. The carboxylate ions thus generated and accumulated are highly reactive. They are then allowed to react with alkyl halides as the electrophiles, and afford the corresponding esters in moderate to good yields. The reaction without Bu4NF does not afford any product; therefore, Bu4NF seems to play an important role as the base in these reactions. A bulky countercation such as the tetrabutylammonium cation seems to increase the reactivity of the carboxylate ions in the solution phase.