The hydroformylation of methyl cinnamate catalysed by various rhodium complexes affords the aldehyde 1a with good chemo- and regio-selectivity, while in the case of methyl p-chlorocinnamate the predominant reaction is the substrate hydrogenation. Higher yields of the desired aldehydes 1a and 1b are obtained by hydroformylation of the cinnamaldehyde and p-chlorocinnamaldehyde diethylacetal, respectively, under the same reaction conditions. These aldehyde products are valuable drug precursors. © 1993.
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