According to the table here, diisobutyl aluminium hydride can reduce amides to aldehydes but according to the data given to me by my teacher DIBAL.H cannot reduce: amides, acids, isocyanides and nitro groups.

It's I also given in my notes that DIBAL.H is parallel to $\ce{LiAlH4}$ as a reducing agent but it is more selective.

I would like to know if DIBAL.H is able to reduce these functional groups or not.

  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diisobutylaluminium_hydride - Seems the teacher underestimated it/ $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Here are more references: organic-chemistry.org/chemicals/reductions/… DIBAL is definitely not LAH. $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 20:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Quite a few reagents will actually react like their more reactive "equivalent" if the conditions are right e.g. NaBH4 will reduce groups it allegedly doesn't, that LiAlH4 is used for. Solvent and temperature play a huge part. So DIBAL will reduce functionalities that "common knowledge" says it won't. Conditions just have to be right. $\endgroup$
    – Beerhunter
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


DIBAL-H does the following:

  1. Acid chlorides to aldehydes (Fast)
  2. $3^\circ$ amides to aldehydes
  3. Nitriles to aldehydes
  4. Ketones to $2^\circ$ alcohols
  5. Aldehydes to $1^\circ$ alcohols. (Slower)

Also, it works best in these solvents: THF, toluene.

We need to avoid solvents like alcohols, amines, strong acids and halogenated compounds.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.