The group of Kyoko NOZAKI and Shuhei KUSUMOTO at the University of Tokyo’s Dept. of Chemistry and Biotechnology report the direct and selective hydrogenolysis of sp2 C–OH bonds in substituted phenols and naphthols catalysed by hydroxycyclopentadienyl iridium complexes. The corresponding arenes were obtained in up to 99% yields, indicating the possible production of arenes from lignin-derived oils.

Shuhei Kusumoto et al., Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/ncomms7296