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J Org Chem. 2008 Feb 15;73(4):1354-64. doi: 10.1021/jo702423z. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

A ceric ammonium nitrate N-dearylation of N-p-anisylazoles applied to pyrazole, triazole, tetrazole, and pentazole rings: release of parent azoles. generation of unstable pentazole, HN5/N5-, in solution.

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  • 1Chemistry Department, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.


The reaction of cerium(IV) ammonium nitrate (CAN) with a range of N-(p-anisyl)azoles in acetonitrile or methanol solvents leads to N-dearylation releasing the parent NH-azole and p-benzoquinone in comparable yields. The scope and limitations of the reaction are explored. It was successful with 1-(p-anisyl)pyrazoles, 2-(p-anisyl)-1,2,3-triazoles, 2-(p-anisyl)-2H-tetrazoles, and 1-(p-anisyl)pentazole. The dearylation renders the p-anisyl group as a potentially useful N-protecting group in azole chemistry. The azole released in solution from 1-(p-anisyl)pentazole is unstable HN5, the long-sought parent pentazolic acid. p-Anisylpentazole samples were synthesized with combinations of one, two, and three 15N atoms at all positions of the pentazole ring. The unstable HN5/N5- produced at -40 degrees C did not build up in the solution but degraded to azide ion and nitrogen gas with a short lifetime. The 15N-labeling of the N3- ion obtained from all samples proved unequivocally that it came from the degradation of HN5 (tautomeric forms) and/or its anion N5- in the solution.

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