Selective photooxidation of ortho-substituted benzyl alcohols and the catalytic role of ortho-methoxybenzaldehyde

Vincenzo Augugliaro, Giovanni Palmisano, Vittorio Loddo, Sedat Yurdakal, Bilge Sina Tek, Gabriele Scandura, Levent Özcan, Giovanni Palmisano

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It has been recently reported by Palmisano et al. (2015) [1] that the oxidation of 2-methoxybenzyl alcohol (2-MBA) to 2-methoxybenzaldehyde (2-MBAD) proceeds in water under near-UV light with an unexpected catalytic effect of 2-MBAD. In order to investigate the catalytic role of aldehyde in photolytic oxidation of ortho-substituted benzyl alcohols (OSBAs), reactivity runs were carried out with 2-methylbenzyl alcohol (2-MeBA), 2-nitrobenzyl alcohol (2-NBA), 2-hydroxybenzyl alcohol (2-HBA) and 2-chlorobenzyl alcohol (2-ClBA) in the absence and in the presence of their corresponding aldehyde. None of those alcohols showed a measurable oxidation rate even in the presence of their aldehydes but 2-NBA was oxidised very fast, although no corresponding carbonyl product was obtained. The possible catalytic role of 2-MBAD was investigated for the photolytic oxidation of 4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (4-MBA), 4-nitrobenzyl alcohol (4-NBA), 2-ClBA, 2-HBA, 2-MeBA and ferulic acid (FA). The results showed that 2-MBAD acts as a catalyst only for 4-MBA, 2-HBA and FA. The photocatalytic oxidation of OSBAs in the presence of powdered TiO2 has been also carried out in order to investigate the mutual influences, if any, between homogeneous and heterogeneous processes. The reactivity runs were carried out with TiO2 photocatalyst in water and under near-UV irradiation; a home-prepared (HP) TiO2 sample was used along with Degussa P25. HP catalyst showed the best performance: the 2-MBA half-life time was 5 times smaller and the selectivity to aldehyde 13 times higher than in the presence of Degussa P25.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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