Emde degradation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Emde degradation
Named after Hermann Emde
Reaction type Degradation reaction
RSC ontology ID RXNO:0000147

The Emde degradation (also called Emde-reaction or Emde-reduction) is a method for the reduction of a quaternary ammonium cation to a tertiary amine with sodium amalgam [1][2][3]


This organic reaction was first described in 1909 by the German chemist Hermann Emde and was for a long time of great importance in structure elucidation of many alkaloids, for example that of ephedrine.

Alternative reducing agents exist for this reaction; for instance, lithium aluminium hydride.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Emde, Hermann (1909). "Spaltung quartärer Ammoniumsalze durch nascierenden Wasserstoff". Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges. 42: 2590-2594. doi:10.1002/cber.190904202169.
  2. ^ Pötsch, W. (1989). Lexikon bedeutender Chemiker. VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig. ISBN 3817110553.
  3. ^ Smith, M. B.; March, J. (2001). March's Advanced Organic Chemistry. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-58589-0.