Hunsdiecker reaction

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The Hunsdiecker reaction (or Borodin reaction) is the organic reaction of silver salts of carboxylic acids with halogens, which gives organic halides. It is an interesting example of a halogenation reaction.

Reaction mechanism

The reaction can be written as:

R-COOAg + Br2 → R-Br + CO2 + AgBr

If iodine is used instead of bromine, the final product will be an ester of the carboxylic acid and its corresponding alcohol. This version is called Simonini reaction.

2 R-COOAg + I2 → R-C(=O)O-R + CO2 + 2 AgI


To a solution of silver carboxylate in carbon tetrachloride, elemental bromine is added.


The Hunsdiecker reaction is useful for making organic halides from silver carboxylates, such as methyl bromide from silver acetate.


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