Liquid-phase oxidation of deactivated methylbenzenes by aqueous sodium hypochlorite catalyzed by ruthenium salts under phase-transfer catalytic conditions

Yoel Sasson, Guillermo D. Zappi, Ronny Neumann

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Toluene and methylbenzene ring substituted with electron-withdrawing substituents were oxidized to the corresponding carboxylic acids. The oxidation system is biphasic consisting of an organic substrate phase and an aqueous sodium hypochlorite phase with both ruthenium and quaternary ammonium salts acting as catalysts. Yields are essentially quantitative after 2 h at room temperature with a stoichiometric ratio hypochlorite/toluene of 4.5:1 provided the pH of the aqueous phase is between 8.0 and 10.5. Kinetic studies show the reaction to be of first order in the substrate, zero order in sodium hypochlorite, and combined first order in the catalysts. The reaction mechanism consists of a RuO4-catalyzed hydride abstraction and a phase-transfer-catalyzed proton-dependent step.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2880-2883
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry

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