Nitrosation of phenolic compounds: Effects of alkyl substituents and solvent
Mason SL., Loughran Ö., La Thangue NB.
Nitrosation reactions of phenol, o-cresol, 2,6-dimethylphenol, o-tert-butylphenol, 2-hydroxyacetophenone, and 2-allylphenol in water and water/acetonitrile were studied. Kinetic monitoring of the reactions was accomplished by spectrophotometric analysis of the nitrosated products at 345 nm. The dominant reaction was C-nitrosation via a mechanism consisting of an attack on the nitrosatable substrate by NO+/NO2H2+ followed by a slow proton transfer. The values of the rate constants of phenolic C-nitrosation were increased by electron donating substituents, and a good Hammett correlation was observed with ρ=-6.1. The results also revealed the strong effect of pH and the permitivity of the reaction medium on the rate constant, whose maximum values were observed for pH≈3, decreasing strongly for higher pH values. The study in water/acetonitrile with up to 25% acetonitrile showed that it is possible to inhibit the reaction strongly by increasing the percentage of the organic component. The conclusions drawn show that (i) it is possible to predict the rate of nitrosation of phenolics as a function of the meta-substituents on the phenol ring and (ii) the nitrosation of phenolics can be strongly inhibited by increasing the pH of the reaction medium as well as by lowering its dielectric constant.