Practical synthesis of (-)-morphine

Johann Mulzer, Dirk Trauner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hydrophenanthrenone approach to the synthesis of morphinane alkaloids such as (-)-dihydrocodeinone (16) is described. Optical activity is achieved by chiral resolution of the hydrophenanthrenone derivative 6 on cellulose triacetate. Key steps of the thirteen-step synthesis are the conjugate addition of vinyl cuprate to 6, which generates the crucial benzylic quaternary center and the demethylative cycloetherification step that transforms bromoketone 8 into morphinane 9.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Asymmetric synthesis of morphinane derivatives
  • Chiral resolution by column chromatography
  • Conjugate cuprate addition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry


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