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Acidic permanganate oxidation of sulfamethoxazole by stepwise electron-proton transfer

Song, Dean, Jefferson, William A., Cheng, Hanyang, Jiang, Xiaohua, Qiang, Zhimin, He, Hong, Liu, Huijuan, Qu, Jiuhui
Chemosphere 2019 v.222 pp. 71-82
Bronsted acids, Lewis acids, ammonia, aqueous solutions, cleavage (chemistry), density functional theory, electron transfer, hydrogen, models, oxidants, oxidation, permanganates, pollutants, reaction mechanisms, sulfamethoxazole
Permanganate is a versatile chemical oxidant, and has undergone a dramatic evolution toward deep insight into its reaction mechanism. However, the hydrogen abstraction of the NH bond by permanganate remains unclear. We studied the permanganate oxidation of the emerging micropollutant sulfamethoxazole in acidic aqueous solution. The reaction followed autocatalytic kinetics and demonstrated first-order with respect to each reactant. The presence of HMnO4 accelerated the reaction rate, which was four orders of magnitude higher than that of MnO4−. Based on the identified products, the rate-limiting step was determined to be simple NH bond oxidation by metal-oxo species permanganate. The mechanism was then studied computationally by density functional theory (DFT) using ammonia as the simplest model. Results showed that the NH bond oxidation by MnO4− (32.86 kcal/mol) was a concerted mechanism similar to that of CH bond oxidation, whereas HMnO4 oxidation of the NH bond (10.44 kcal/mol) was a stepwise electron-proton transfer. This reminds us that coordination of Brønsted acid could not only produce the stronger electrophile but also change the reaction mode by avoiding the bond cleavage in electron transfer process.