Preparation of Methanol Labelled with Isotopic Carbon


PERHAPS the most important single step in the preparation of compounds labelled with a carbon isotope is the reduction of carbon dioxide to methanol. Three suitable methods for this purpose have been described, namely: (i) the hydrogenolysis of methyl formate1,2 (from formic acid prepared by reduction of carbon dioxide), (ii) the catalytic hydrogenation of carbon dioxide3 (at 285°, 450 atmospheres pressure), and (iii) the reduction of carbon dioxide by means of lithium aluminium hydride4. The latter method would appear to offer some obvious practical advantages; but we have shown that the purity of methanol so prepared leaves much to be desired.

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COX, J., WARNE, R. Preparation of Methanol Labelled with Isotopic Carbon. Nature 165, 563 (1950).

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