Sodium cyanoborohydride

Sodium cyanoborohydride
Sodium cyanoborohydride
CAS number 25895-60-7 YesY
PubChem 24849595
EC number 247-317-2
Molecular formula NaBH3CN
Molar mass 62.84 g/mol
Appearance white to off-white powder, hygroscopic
Density 1.20 g/cm3
Melting point

241 °C decomp.

Solubility in water soluble
MSDS External MSDS
EU Index not listed
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
Related compounds
Other anions Sodium borohydride
Related compounds Lithium aluminium hydride
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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Sodium cyanoborohydride is the inorganic compound with the formula NaBH3(CN). This colourless salt is widely used in organic synthesis for the reduction of imines.

Preparation and use

The reagent may be prepared, either by treating sodium cyanide with borane, or by reacting sodium borohydride with mercury(II) cyanide. Owing to the presence of the electron-withdrawing cyanide substituent, [B(CN)H3] is far less nucleophilic than is [BH4], as found in sodium borohydride.[1]

Sodium cyanoborohydride is a mild reducing agent that converts imines to amines. It can be used to exchange the oxygen for an amine group on the carbonyl carbon of aldehydes or ketones when reacted with ammonia or a primary amine. Selectivity is achieved at mildly basic solutions (pH 7-10). Owing to this selectivity, the reagent is ideal for reductive aminations. This reduction is known sometimes as the Borch Reaction.[2] The salt is mildly water-sensitive, but tolerates aqueous conditions.[3] In addition, sodium cyanoborohydride is often used in hydrogenolysis reactions, such as the opening of acetals.


  1. ^ Ellen W. Baxter, Allen B. Reitz Reductive Aminations of Carbonyl Compounds with Borohydride and Borane Reducing Agents in Organic Reactions, 2002, John Wiley and Sons. doi:10.1002/0471264180.or059.01
  2. ^ Richard F. Borch and Mark D. Bernstein and H. Dupont Durst (1971). "Cyanohydridoborate Anion as a Selective Reducing Agent". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 93 (12): 2897–2904. doi:10.1021/ja00741a013. 
  3. ^ Timothy M. Beard and Nicholas J. Turner (2002). "Deracemisation and Stereoinversion of alpha-Amino Acids Using D-Amino Acid Oxidase and Hydride Reducing Agents". Chemical Communications (3): 246–7. 

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