o-Phenylenediamine (1) was condensed with lactic acid (2) under Philips conditions to obtain the previously known 2-(α-hydroxyethyl)benzimidazole (3). Oxidation of 3 with K2Cr2O7 in dil. H2SO4 using the literature method gave the previously reported 2-acetylbenzimidazole (4). Several methods have been tried using various oxidising agents / dehydrogenating agents to optimise the preparation of 4 from 3.
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