The unprecedented gold-mediated activation of nitriles is reported. A [(NHC)AuI]-based catalytic system was found to be efficient for the nitrile hydration reaction of a broad spectrum of substrates that includes aromatic, heteroaromatic, and aliphatic examples.
Gold activation of nitriles: Catalytic hydration to amides
Chem. Eur. J. 2009, 15, 8695-8697.