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Advances in Physical Chemistry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 835610, 11 pages
Research Article

Polyethylene Glycols as Efficient Catalysts for the Oxidation of Xanthine Alkaloids by Ceric Ammonium Nitrate in Acetonitrile: A Kinetic and Mechanistic Approach

Department of Chemistry, Osmania University, Hyderabad 500 007, India

Received 1 January 2013; Revised 23 April 2013; Accepted 7 May 2013

Academic Editor: Jeffrey M. Zaleski

Copyright © 2013 S. Shylaja et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Kinetics of oxidation of xanthine alkaloids, such as Xanthine (XAN), hypoxanthine (HXAN), caffeine (CAF), theophylline (TPL), and theobromine (TBR), have been studied with ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN) using poly ethylene glycols (PEG) as catalysts. Reaction obeyed first order kinetics in both [CAN] and [Xanthine alkaloid]. Highly sluggish CAN-xanthine alkaloid reactions (in acetonitrile media even at elevated temperatures) are enhanced in presence PEGs (PEG-200, -300, -400, -600). An increase in [PEG] increased the rate of oxidation linearly. This observation coupled with a change in absorption of CAN in presence of PEG, [H–(OCH2–CH2)n–O–NH4Ce(NO3)4(CH3CN)] (PEG bound CAN species), is considered to be more reactive than CAN. The mechanism of oxidation in PEG media has been explained by Menger-Portnoy’s enzymatic model.