Photochemistry and photobiology

Selective Activation of C=C Bond in Sustainable Phenolic Compounds from Lignin via Photooxidation: Experiment and Density Functional Theory Calculations.

PMID 26268649


Lignocellulosic biomass can be converted to high-value phenolic compounds, such as food additives, antioxidants, fragrances and fine chemicals. We investigated photochemical and heterogeneous photocatalytic oxidation of two isomeric phenolic compounds from lignin, isoeugenol and eugenol, in several nonprotic solvents, for the first time by experiment and the density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Photooxidation was conducted under ambient conditions using air, near-UV light and commercial P25 TiO2 photocatalyst, and the products were determined by TLC, UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, HPLC-UV and HPLC-MS. Photochemical and photocatalytic oxidation of isoeugenol proceeds via the mild oxidative "dimerization" to produce the lignan dehydrodiisoeugenol (DHDIE), while photooxidation of eugenol does not proceed. The DFT calculations suggest a radical stepwise mechanism for the oxidative "dimerization" of isoeugenol to DHDIE as was calculated for the first time.