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Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Aug;27(3-4):294-300.

Irradiation of titanium dioxide generates both singlet oxygen and superoxide anion.

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Department of Biochemistry, Osaka City University Medical School, Abeno, Osaka, Japan.


Although photoexcited TiO2 has been known to initiate various chemical reactions, such as the generation of reactive oxygen species, precise mechanism and chemical nature of the generated species remain to be elucidated. The present work demonstrates the generation of singlet oxygen by irradiated TiO2 in ethanol as measured by ESR spectroscopy using 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidone (4-oxo-TMP) as a 1O2-sensitive trapping agent. Under identical conditions, the superoxide ion was also detected by spin trapping agent 5,5-dimethyl-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO). Kinetic analysis in the presence of both 4-oxo-TMP and DMPO revealed that singlet oxygen is produced directly at the irradiated TiO2 surface but not by a successive reaction involving superoxide anion. The basis for this view is the fact that DMPO added in the mixture increased the signals responsible for 4-oxo-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-1-piperidinyloxy (4-oxo-TEMPO), a reaction product of 4-oxo-TMP and 1O2. The detailed mechanism for the generation of 1O2 and superoxide ion by irradiated TiO2 and reactions between these species and DMPO are discussed.

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