Palladium-catalyzed conjugate addition of arylboronic acids to β,β-disubstituted enones in aqueous media is reported. Additions of a wide range of arylboronic acids to β,β-disubstituted enones occur to form ketone products bearing benzylic all-carbon quaternary centers. These reactions are promoted by a simple catalyst prepared from palladium trifluoracetate and 2,2′-bipyridine. The use of aqueous sodium trifluoracetate as the reaction medium significantly enhances reactivity and enables the formation of challenging bis-benzylic and ortho-substituted benzylic all-carbon quaternary centers.
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