Molecule of the Week

Sodium borohydride

May 12, 2008

Sodium borohydride (NaBH4) is one of the handiest reducing agents, especially for organic compounds in nonaqueous solvents. It was introduced in the 1940s for wartime applications and was an important enough reagent by 1970 to warrant a lengthy review. It has been used to reduce aldehydes, ketones, Schiff bases, carboxylic acids and esters, acid chlorides, disulfides, nitriles, and inorganic anions. For many of these substrates, only gentle reaction conditions are required.