Protonation reactions at carbon sites in the anion radicals of certain unsaturated compounds and aromatic amino acids

C. Van Paemel, H. Frumin, V. L. Brooks, R. Failor, M. D. Sevilla

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The protonation reactions at carbon sites of the anion radicals of certain unsaturated compounds as well as aromatic amino acids and their analogs have been investigated in alkaline and neutral aqueous glasses by electron spin resonance spectroscopy. For the compounds acrylic acid, 3,3-dimethylacrylic acid, crotonic acid, acrylamide, and acrylonitrile protonation or deuteration is found to occur β to the electronegative group (R3) to form an α-carbon radical: R1R2C=CHR3- + H2O → R1R2CH-CHR3 + OH-. The anions were found to be stabilized when R1 (or R2) was a carboxyl (fumaric) or methyl (crotonic and 3,3-dimethylacrylic acid) group. The anions of acetylenedicarboxylic acid and hydrogen cyanide were also found to protonate in these aqueous glasses. The anions of four aromatic amino acids were found to protonate at carbon sites on the aromatic ring. Analogs of these amino acids which contain the aromatic ring were found to protonate at positions equivalent to those found in the amino acids. Molecular orbital calculations of the spin density and free valency show that the magnitude of these parameters can be correlated with the site of protonation and perhaps the tendency to protonate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-845
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1975


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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