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Implications of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in initiating chemical reactions

Al-Nu'airat, Jomana (2018) Implications of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in initiating chemical reactions. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis presents a series of scientific studies exploring the initiation of various chemical reactions with reactive oxygen species (ROS), mainly singlet oxygen. These studies have revealed new mechanistic insights in environmental, industrial and biological systems, have described the associated set of reactions, have illustrated the detection of new radicals i.e., environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFR), and have provided a new insight explaining the spontaneous fire in coal mines. Comprehensive experimental and quantum-mechanical calculations afforded the investigation of oxidation reactions of singlet oxygen with wastewater organic contaminants, for example, the photodegradation of Phenol and Aniline in water. Detailed experimental studies on modelled surrogates, i.e., Anisole, resolved the fundamentals of thermal interaction of coal with iron oxide Fe2O3 nanoparticles. Along the same line of interest, enhancing the combustion efficiency of fuel constitutes a mainstream strategy in the pursuit of meeting the ever-increasing energy demand. Therefore, this thesis also provides a comprehensive mechanistic and thermo-kinetic accounts underpinning the reaction of fuel surrogates, namely Toluene, with singlet oxygen in the internal combustion (IC) engines. Finally, this work extends insights into biological systems, mapping the Alloxan-Glutathione redox cycle to expose the formation of ROS, species that eventually cause necrosis of the pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells and prompt the insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).

The methodology involve customised LED-photoreactors, thermal packed-bed reactor, and various reaction product-monitoring systems, e.g., Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to quantitate the ignition temperatures of fuel surrogates, in-situ electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) to elucidate the formation of environmentally-persistent free radicals (EPFR) as well as intermediate radical species, diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) to monitor the chemisorption of organic substrates on the nanoparticles, X-ray diffraction for particles characterisation, as well as broad-scan UV-Vis spectroscopy and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to identify and quantify the intermediate and product species in solutions.

Results obtained in this thesis elucidate, for the very first time, the formation of para-semibenzoquinone anion (PSBQ) supporting the reaction pathway leading to the formation of para-benzoquinone during the reaction of phenol (and aniline) with singlet oxygen. These results have practical application to quantify the degradation of organic pollutants in wastewater. Investigations regarding combustion applications shows that the presence of singlet oxygen considerably lowers the activation energy of the initiation channels of aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g., in IC engines), resulting in an energetically improved combustion process, the relative reactivity of singlet oxygen, based on the reaction rate constants, follows the order of OH > H > CH3 > 1O2 > HO2 > 3O2. Furthermore, the chemisorption of anisole on α-Fe2O3 surfaces has been elucidated to follow a direct dissociation of the O–CH3 (and OCH2–H), leading to the formation of surface-bound phenoxy radicals and gaseous species at temperatures as low as 25 °C. This insight applies to free-radical chain reactions that induce spontaneous fires of coal, as low-ranked coal comprises ferric oxide nanoparticles, and equally, to coexistence of aromatic fuels with thermodynamically reactive Fe2O3 surface, e.g., in fly ash, at the cooled-down tail of combustion stacks. Results from alloxan-glutathione redox cycle clarified, for the first time, the direct synchronised generation of dialuric acid radical (DA˙) and glutathione radical (GS˙), assigning the nature of the mysterious “compound 305” to the DA˙- GS˙ complex. These results explain the alloxan-induced diabetes on precise molecular bases.

This thesis provides new perspectives on opportunities in understanding the influence of ROS, mainly singlet oxygen (1O2) and superoxide (O2−) in germane chemical reactions. Such attempts will advance the existing ROS-related technologies, and improve the fundamental theories in supports of environmental management and application decisions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
United Nations SDGs: Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Supervisor(s): Altarawneh, Mohammednoor, Dlugogorski, Bogdan and Gao, Xiangpeng
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