The N-demethylation of selected N-methylalkaloids using a modified Polonovski reaction can be accomplished using a novel green methodology employing nanoscale zero-valent iron, nZVI, in isopropanol. Use of nZVI promotes a much faster conversion to N-demethylated products due to much higher surface area on the metal surface as shown by SEM analysis. Rates of conversion can be further enhanced using catalytic quantities of the solubilised iron(0) species triiron dodecacarbonyl, Fe3(CO)12.
Awalt, J. K., Lam, R., Kellam, B., Graham, B., Scammells, P. J., & Singer, R. D. (2017). Utility of iron nanoparticles and a solution-phase iron species for the N-demethylation of alkaloids. Green Chemistry, 19(11), 2587-2594. https://doi.org/10.1039/c7gc00436b