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18.32: Oxidation of Phenols to Quinones

JoVE Core
Organic Chemistry

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Oxidation of Phenols to Quinones

18.32: Oxidation of Phenols to Quinones

In the presence of oxidizing agents, phenols are oxidized to quinones. Quinones can be easily reduced back to phenols using mild reducing agents. The electron-donating hydroxyl group enhances the reactivity of the aromatic ring, enabling oxidation of the ring even in the absence of an α hydrogen.

o-hydroxy phenols are oxidized to o-quinones and p-hydroxy phenols to p-quinones. Such redox reactions involve the transfer of two electrons and two protons. The reversible redox property is crucial in several physiological systems to catalyze biological reactions. For example, cellular respiration utilizes ubiquinones or coenzyme Q as electron mediators for reducing molecular oxygen to water. The most important functional group in vitamin K2, which is involved in blood clotting, is a quinone. Quinones are also present in menadione, which is a synthetic supplement for vitamin K2.


Keywords: Oxidation Phenols Quinones Redox Reactions Electron Transfer Biological Reactions Cellular Respiration Ubiquinones Coenzyme Q Vitamin K2 Menadione

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