Bulk electrolysis of the antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol in acetonitrile both yield a single oxidation product in two-electron processes. The oxidation products are more polar than their parent compounds, with an increased molecular weight of 16g/mol, and were identified as 2-(3,4-dihydroxybenzoyl)-2,4,6-trihydroxy-3 (2H)-benzofuranone and 2-(4-hydroxybenzoyl)-2,4,6-trihydroxy-3(2H)-benzofuranone for quercetin and kaempferol, respectively. Two-electron oxidation of the parent flavonoid is suggested to yield a 3,4-flavandione with unchanged substitution pattern in the A- and B-ring, which may rearrange to form the substituted 3(2H)-benzofuranone through the chalcan-trione ring-chain tautomer. The acidity of the 3-OH group is suggested to determine the fate of the flavonoid phenoxyl radical originally formed by one-electron oxidation, as no well-defined oxidation product of luteolin (lacking the 3-OH group) could be isolated despite rather similar half-peak potentials: E-p/2 = 0.97 V, 0.98 V and 1.17 V vs. NHE for quercetin, kaempferol and luteolin, respectively, as measured by cyclic voltammetry in acetonitrile.
- oxidation product