Radical autoxidation and autogenous O2 evolution in manganese-porphyrin catalyzed alkane oxidations with chlorite.

Research paper by LeGrande M LM Slaughter, James P JP Collman, Todd A TA Eberspacher, John I JI Brauman

Indexed on: 18 Aug '04Published on: 18 Aug '04Published in: Inorganic Chemistry


A manganese porphyrin catalyst employing chlorite (ClO(2)(-)) as a "shunt" oxidant displays remarkable activity in alkane oxidation, oxidizing cyclohexane to cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone with >800 turnover numbers. The ketone is apparently formed without the intermediacy of alcohol and accounts for an unusually large fraction of the product ( approximately 40%). Radical scavenging experiments indicate that the alkane oxidation mechanism involves both carbon-centered and oxygen-centered radicals. The carbon-radical trap CBrCl(3) completely suppresses cyclohexanone formation and reduces cyclohexanol turnovers, while the oxygen-radical trap Ph(2)NH inhibits all oxidation until it is consumed. These observations are indicative of an autoxidation mechanism, a scenario further supported by TEMPO inhibition and (18)O(2) incorporation into products. However, similar cyclohexane oxidation activity occurs when air is excluded. This is explained by mass spectrometric and volumetric measurements showing catalyst-dependent O(2) evolution from the reaction mixture. The catalytic disproportionation of ClO(2)(-) into Cl(-) and O(2) provides sufficient O(2) to support an autoxidation mechanism. A two-path oxidation scheme is proposed to explain all of the experimental observations. The first pathway involves manganese-porphyrin catalyzed decomposition of ClO(2)(-) into both O(2) and an unidentified radical initiator, leading to classical autoxidation chemistry providing equal amounts of cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone. The second pathway is a "rebound" oxygenation involving a high-valent manganese-oxo intermediate, accounting for the excess of alcohol over ketone. This system highlights the importance of mechanistic studies in catalytic oxidations with highly reactive oxidants, and it is unusual in its ability to sustain autoxidation even under apparent exclusion of O(2).