Organosulfur compounds are widely used for the manufacture of drugs and materials, and their synthesis in general conventionally employs nucleophilic substitution reactions of thiolate anions formed from thiols and bases. To synthesize advanced functional organosulfur compounds, development of novel synthetic methods is an important task. We have been studying the synthesis of organosulfur compounds by transition-metal catalysis using disulfides and sulfur, which are easier to handle and less odiferous than thiols. In this article, we describe our development that rhodium complexes efficiently catalyze the cleavage of S-S bonds and transfer organothio groups to organic compounds, which provide diverse organosulfur compounds. The synthesis does not require use of bases or organometallic reagents; furthermore, it is reversible, involving chemical equilibria and interconversion reactions.
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