In this work, we focused our attention on seleno-Michael type reactions. These were performed using zinc-selenolates generated in situ from diphenyl diselenide 1, 1,2-bis(3-phenylpropyl)diselenide 30, and protected selenocystine 31 via an efficient biphasic Zn/HCl-based reducing system. Alkenes with a variety of electron-withdrawing groups were investigated in order to gauge the scope and limitations of the process. Results demonstrated that the addition to acyclic α,β-unsaturated ketones, aldehydes, esters amides, and acids was effectively achieved and that alkyl substituents at the reactive β-centre can be accommodated. Similarly, cyclic enones undergo efficient Se-addition and the corresponding adducts were isolated in moderate to good yield. Vinyl sulfones, α,β-unsaturated nitriles, and chalcones are not compatible with these reaction conditions. A recycling experiment demonstrated that the unreacted Zn/HCl reducing system can be effectively reused for seven reaction cycles (91% conversion yield at the 7◦ recycling rounds).
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