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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2001;15(7):484-8.

Metal-assisted esterification: glutaric acid-iron(II) complexes in the gas phase.

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Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Transition metal ions are routinely used to assist organic reactions; however, direct detection of the intermediates in such reactions is uncommon. Here, we demonstrate a transition metal ion-assisted reaction between glutaric acid (L) and methanol, using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). Esterification of glutaric acid does not occur in aqueous methanol solution under ESI conditions, but the FeII-bound acid cluster, [FeII L2 - H]+, adds methanol and dehydrates to give rise to an abundant product ion with a 14 Da increased mass. The occurrence of methyl esterification is supported by collision-induced dissociation and isotopic labeling data, which indicate that the sequence by which the product ion is generated is loss of water, followed by the addition of methanol. Electrospray ionization conditions, specifically the tube lens offset voltage, strongly affect the reaction efficiency, presumably through control of the dehydration process. Other transition metal ions, such as NiII, ZnII, CoII and CuII, also show distinctive metal-assisted reactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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