Because oxygen gas (O2) was the first known oxidizing agent, the term oxidation was historically used to describe reactions in which oxygen was added to a compound. However, while the addition of oxygen to a compound typically meets the modern criteria of oxidation (electron loss and an increase in oxidation state), the definition of oxidation has been expanded to include other types of chemical reactions that result in an increase in oxidation state.
One of the earliest named oxidation reactions is the Tishchenko reaction, which originated from work by L. Claisen in 1887 on the formation of benzyl benzoate from benzaldehyde in the presence of sodium alkoxides. Almost twenty years later, V.E. Tishchenko discovered that both enolizable and non-enolizable aldehydes can be converted to their corresponding esters in the presence of magnesium or aluminum alkoxides. This became known as the Tishchenko reaction.
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