A quasi-reversible redox reaction involving ascorbic acid was observed in non-aqueous electrolytes at conductive diamond electrode. The chemical reversibility of these reactions is consistent with ascorbic acid being reduced to the ascorbic acid radical anion in a one-electron process, with subsequent reoxidation to ascorbic acid. This is the first report on the electrochemical production of the ascorbic acid radical anion in non-aqueous electrolytes. Ascorbyl 6-stearate and 4-hydroxy 2(5H)-furanone, which have somewhat similar structures as ascorbic acid, also showed one-electron transfer reduction reaction producing radicals with a single negative charge, suggesting that these compounds follow the same electrochemical behavior as ascorbic acid. The double bond and hydroxyl substituent on the five-membered ring are shown to be necessary for the stabilization of the radical anions. It was confirmed by the calculation of the total energy using molecular orbital methods that resonance structures involving the double-bond and hydroxyl group provide significant stabilization of the radical anions. Electrochemical preparation may be a useful method for the detailed study of radicals, their molecular structure and reactivity.
- Ascorbic acid
- Diamond electrode