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8.13: Oxidative Cleavage of Alkenes: Ozonolysis

JoVE Core
Organic Chemistry

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Oxidative Cleavage of Alkenes: Ozonolysis

8.13: Oxidative Cleavage of Alkenes: Ozonolysis

In ozonolysis, ozone is used to cleave a carbon–carbon double bond to form aldehydes and ketones, or carboxylic acids, depending on the work-up.

Ozone is a symmetrical bent molecule stabilized by a resonance structure.


Ozonolysis proceeds through an oxidative cleavage reaction. The first step is the electrophilic addition of ozone across the alkene double bond, forming an unstable molozonide intermediate, which reacts further to form a carbonyl and a carbonyl oxide. These intermediates rearrange to form an ozonide.


The ozonide is treated with a mild reducing agent such as dimethyl sulfide or zinc to yield the carbonyl compounds as the final product.


Ozonolysis with Different Substituted Alkenes

The conversion of ozonide to aldehydes, ketones, or carboxylic acids depends on the structure of the alkene starting material and different reaction conditions.

When a reductive work-up is used,  ozonolysis of monosubstituted alkenes such as 1-butene yields a mixture of aldehydes.


Trisubstituted alkenes, such as 2-methyl-2-butene, on the other hand, form an aldehyde and a ketone.


When an oxidative work-up is used, the reaction yields a ketone and an aldehyde that is further oxidized to the corresponding carboxylic acid.



Oxidative Cleavage Alkenes Ozonolysis Ozone Carbon-carbon Double Bond Aldehydes Ketones Carboxylic Acids Resonance Structure Electrophilic Addition Molozonide Intermediate Carbonyl Oxide Ozonide Reducing Agent Dimethyl Sulfide Zinc Substituted Alkenes Reductive Work-up Monosubstituted Alkenes Trisubstituted Alkenes Oxidative Work-up

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