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Organic Chemistry Text Book (CHEM 3401 and 3402)

21.1 Reactions at the Alpha Carbon

Many aldehydes and ketones were found to undergo electrophilic substitution at an alpha carbon. These reactions, which included halogenation, isotope exchange and the aldol reaction, take place by way of enol tautomer or enolate anion intermediates, a characteristic that requires at least one hydrogen on the α-carbon atom. In this section similar reactions of carboxylic acid derivatives will be examined. Formulas for the corresponding enol and enolate anion species that may be generated from these derivatives are drawn in the following diagram.