CHEMISTRY: Exploring HOOOH

Science  24 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5692, pp. 1877a
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5692.1877a

Antibodies catalyze the oxidation of water by singlet oxygen, generating hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and probably ozone (O3) as well. HOOOH has been identified as a likely intermediate in this reaction, and it can be made photochemically in a frozen matrix from H2O2 and O3. Nyffeler et al. have explored whether HOOOH can form in a completely thermal reaction of H2O2 and O3. The reaction of O3 with H2O2 in deuterated organic solvents at −78°C led to an intermediate with a 1H nuclear magnetic resonance peak characteristic of OOOH. The concentration of HOOOH generated in the organic solvent, about 3 mM, suggests that HOOOH may play a role even in the aqueous peroxone reaction of H2O2 and O3, whose products are used as antibacterial agents and to remediate persistent organic pollutants. In water, the decomposition of HOOOH could lead to the formation of singlet oxygen. — PDS

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 43, 4656 (2004).

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