The atom economy--a search for synthetic efficiency

Science. 1991 Dec 6;254(5037):1471-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1962206.


Efficient synthetic methods required to assemble complex molecular arrays include reactions that are both selective (chemo-, regio-, diastereo-, and enantio-) and economical in atom count (maximum number of atoms of reactants appearing in the products). Methods that involve simply combining two or more building blocks with any other reactant needed only catalytically constitute the highest degree of atom economy. Transition metal-catalyzed methods that are both selective and economical for formation of cyclic structures, of great interest for biological purposes, represent an important starting point for this long-term goal. The limited availability of raw materials, combined with environmental concerns, require the highlighting of these goals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry*
  • Isomerism
  • Methylation
  • Polymers


  • Polymers