The reactions of nitrate radical (photochemically generated by the flash photolysis of a mixture of ceric ammonium nitrate and nitric acid) with amino acids are reported. An electron transfer reaction pathway is proposed for phenylalanine and histidine, whereas a hydrogen abstraction pathway is invoked for the other amino acids, based on the magnitudes of the second-order rate constants and the observation of cation radicals. The reactivity of the nitrate radical is compared with that of other oxidizing radicals, such as Cl2+-, CO3+-and SO4+-. The nitrate radical is expected to show a higher reactivity than SO4+-based on their redox couples, but an inverse reactivity relationship is observed and is suggested to be due to the difference in solvation in the transition state.
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