The bioactive natural product harzianic acid was prepared for the first time in just six steps (longest linear sequence) with an overall yield of 22%. The identification of conditions to telescope amide bond formation and a Lacey-Dieckmann reaction into one pot proved important. The three stereoisomers of harzianic acid were also prepared, providing material for comparison of their biological activity. While all of the isomers promoted root growth, improved antifungal activity was unexpectedly associated with isomers in the enantiomeric series opposite that of harzianic acid.
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