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Inorg Chem. 2008 May 5;47(9):3832-40. doi: 10.1021/ic7024439. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

A pH-metric, UV, NMR, and X-ray crystallographic study on arsenous acid reacting with dithioerythritol.

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Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, University of Szeged, Dóm tér 7, H-6701 Szeged, Hungary.


The aqueous solutions of arsenous acid with the meso and racemic forms of 1,4-dithiol-butane-2,3-diol, namely, dithioerythritol (dte) and dithiothreitol (dtt), respectively, were titrated pH-metrically in different molar ratios. The p K a values determined for As(OH) 3, and dtt were in good accordance with the literature data, and we determined for the first time the p K a value of dte. The deprotonation steps of both M (As(OH) 3 considered as a central metal ion) and H 2L components dte and dtt (considered as ligands) appeared at a higher pH in the titration curves of the ternary systems (M, H 2L, H (+)) than in the individual component. This unusual observation is explained by the condensation reactions between the reagents taking place in the pH < 8 range. In the solutions of c As(III) > 5.10 (-3) M, the precipitate formed upon mixing the arsenous acid and H 2L solutions in neutral medium, and the formation of the precipitate shifted toward acidic pH on the increase of the total concentrations. This indicated that pH-metry can follow the reactions only in an indirect way. Useful, but not satisfactory, information can be obtained by means of this method alone. Combined with NMR and UV spectroscopic measurements it is revealed that depending on the As(III)/H 2L molar ratio, different complexes form in the solutions. In the species with 1:2 composition, one of the ligands is strongly bound to the arsenic(III) probably via its two thiolate, while the second one is attached only weakly. The crystal structure of an As(III)-dte crystal of 1:1 composition, grown from ethanolic solution, shows that As(III) binds the ligand through its three p-orbitals in a manner similar to that expected in aqueous solution. While the uptake of the second ligand cannot be detected by pH-metry, the decomposition of thioether bonds above pH approximately 10 is confirmed by the change in UV spectra at approximately 265 nm to be a base-consuming process. In such alkaline solutions, most probably, rearrangement of the bonding scheme occurs, resulting in ligands being bound to the arsenic(III) through the oxygen donor atoms.

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