The Favorskii rearrangement (not to be confused with the Favorskii reaction), named for the Russian chemist Alexei Yevgrafovich Favorskii, is most principally a rearrangement of cyclopropanones and α-halo ketones which leads to carboxylic acid derivatives. In the case of cyclic α-halo ketones, the Favorski rearrangement constitutes a ring contraction. This rearrangement takes place in the presence of a base, sometimes hydroxide, to yield a carboxylic acid but most of the time either an alkoxide base or an amine to yield an ester or an amide, respectively. α,α’-Dihaloketones eliminate HX under the reaction conditions to give α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds.
In the case of cylic α-halo ketones, the rearrangement occurs as depicted below:
The reaction mechanism is thought to involve the formation of an enolate on the side of the ketone away from the chlorine atom. This enolate cyclizes to a cyclopropanone intermediate which is then attacked by the hydroxide nucleophile.
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