Isohexide Dinitriles: A Versatile Family of Renewable Platform Chemicals

Jing Wu*, Shanmugam Thiyagarajan, Célia Fonseca Guerra, Pieter Eduard, Martin Lutz, Bart A.J. Noordover, Cor E. Koning, Daan S. van Es

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Building blocks of isohexides extended by one carbon atom at the 2- or 5-positions are now synthetically accessible by a convenient, selective, base-catalyzed epimerization of the corresponding dinitriles. Kinetic experiments using the strong organic base 1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) show that all three possible isohexide dinitrile isomers exist within a dynamic equilibrium. An epimerization mechanism based on density functional theory (DFT) calculations is proposed. Structural identification of all three possible isomers is based on NMR analysis and single crystal x-ray crystallography. DFT calculations confirm that the observed crystal structures are indeed the lowest energy conformers of these isohexide derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3202-3211
Number of pages10
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2017


  • biomass
  • crystal structures
  • epimers
  • isohexides
  • oxygen heterocycles


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