The aldol reaction of acetone with aldehydes in aqueous medium under catalysis by zinc-proline (Zn(L-Pro)2) and secondary amines such as proline, (2S,4R)-4-hydroxyproline (Hyp) and (S)-(+)-1-(2-pyrrolidinomethyl)pyrrolidine (PMP) is shown to proceed by an enamine mechanism, as evidenced by reductive trapping of the iminium intermediate, while the aldol reaction of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) under catalysis by zinc-proline and by general bases such as N-methylmorpholine (NMM) is shown to occur under rate-limiting deprotonation of the alpha-carbon and formation of an enolate intermediate.
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