The kinetics of the oxidation of five catecholamines viz., dopamine (A), L-dopa (B), methyldopa (C), epinephrine (D) and norepinephrine (E) by sodium N-chloro-p-toluenesulfonamide or chloramine-T (CAT) in presence of HClO4 was studied at 30±0.1 °C. The five reactions followed identical kinetics with a first-order dependence on [CAT]o, fractional-order in [substrate]o, and inverse fractional-order in [H+]. Under comparable experimental conditions, the rate of oxidation of catecholamines increases in the order D>E>A>B>C. The variation of ionic strength of the medium and the addition of p-toluenesulfonamide or halide ions had no significant effect on the reaction rate. The rate increased with decreasing dielectric constant of the medium. The solvent isotope effect was studied using D2O. A Michaelis-Menten type mechanism has been suggested to explain the results. Equilibrium and decomposition constants for CAT-catecholamine complexes have been evaluated. CH3C6H4SO2NHCl of the oxidant has been postulated as the reactive oxidizing species and oxidation products were identified. An isokinetic relationship is observed with β=361 K, indicating that enthalpy factors control the reaction rate. The mechanism proposed and the derived rate law are consistent with the observed kinetics.
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