Site-selective C-H functionalization of aliphatic alkyl chains is a longstanding challenge in oxidation catalysis, given the comparable relative reactivity of the different methylenes. A supramolecular, bioinspired approach is described to address this challenge. A Mn complex able to catalyze C(sp3)-H hydroxylation with H2O2 is equipped with 18-benzocrown-6 ether receptors that bind ammonium substrates via hydrogen bonding.
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