Electrooxidative nitration of phenols at copper electrodes

DJ Walton*, CJ Campbell, PG Richards, J Heptinstall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

p-Cresol, as a small-molecule model for tyrosine residues in proteins, undergoes electrooxidative nitration in the presence of a nitrogen source, for example ammonia, in mildly alkaline aqueous solution at potentials in the range 0.8 to 1.4 V (vs sce). Anodized copper is the best electrode material of those studied and nitrogen sources in the increasing order of effectiveness are amides <amines congruent to proteins <ammonia, the latter giving a total of nitrocresols of similar to 30% from an initial p-cresol concentration of 0.5 mM. Azulene also nitrates in these conditions, but phenylethers (4-methyl methoxybenzene and 1,2-dimethoxy benzene) do not. The protein hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL), in the absence of any other nitrogenous species, acts as a Source of nitrating agent in the electrooxidative nitration of p-cresol, thus substantiating our earlier finding of selective tyrosine nitration in proteins in the absence of any other nitrogen source. This electronitration reaction, unique in that there is no N-O bond in any initial species, provides a novel and environmentally friendly route in mild conditions and is of particular benefit in the selective covalent modification of proteins. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3499-3507
Number of pages9
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Issue number23-24
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • electrooxidation
  • nitration
  • copper electrodes
  • p-cresol
  • azulene
  • ammonia


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