What is Quinone?

Quinones are a category of organic compounds that are formally "derived from aromatic compounds [such as benzene or naphthalene] by converting an even number of –CH= groups into –C(=O)– groups with the required double bond rearrangement, resulting in "a complete conjugated cyclic dione structure." The 1,4-benzoquinone or cyclohexadienedione, commonly referred to as "quinone," is the class's archetypal member (thus the name of the class). 1,2-benzoquinone (ortho-quinone), 1,4-naphthoquinone, and 9,10-anthraquinone are other significant examples.

In theories about the relationship between chemical constitution and colour, the quinone structure is crucial. Quinones, such as benzoquinones, naphthoquinones, anthraquinones, and polycyclic quinones, can be found as biological pigments (biochromes). Quinones are present in bacteria, fungi, and higher plant types, but only a few species contain them. Sea urchins, aphids, lac insects, and certain scale insects are examples of animals that get their quinone compounds from the plants they consume. Some chemical measures of acidity or alkalinity, as well as different dyes used to colour certain types of fabrics, are naphthoquinones.

This article will study quinone structure and benzoquinone structure in detail.


Properties of Quinone

  • Quinones are oxidized aromatic derivatives that are commonly produced from reactive aromatic compounds with electron-donating substituents including phenols and catechols, which increase the nucleophilicity of the ring and lead to high redox potential needed to break aromaticity. (Quinones are aromatic but not conjugated.) Quinones are Michael acceptors that have been stabilized by conjugation. The reduction can rearomatize the compound or split the conjugation depending on the quinone and the reduction site. Conjugate addition almost always results in the conjugation being broken.

  • Given below is the structure of benzoquinone structure:


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  • Quinones are usually made from aromatic amines, polyhydric phenols, and polynuclear hydrocarbons that have been oxidized. The reduction of quinones to the corresponding dihydroxy form is their most significant characteristic reaction. P-benzoquinone (C6H6O2) is reversibly reduced to hydroquinone (C6H6O2) in acidic solution; the reaction is characterized by a measurable electrical potential of a magnitude that depends on the hydrogen ion concentration of the reaction medium as well as the concentrations of benzoquinone and hydroquinone. To assess hydrogen ion concentrations in unknown solutions, the so-called quinhydrone electrode is used, which contains equal quantities of p-benzoquinone and hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is primarily used as a photographic developer.

  • P-benzoquinone is a bright yellow solid with a strong odour that is slightly soluble in water and melts at about 115° C. Hydroquinone is a crystalline white solid that is water and alcohol soluble.


Benzoquinone Aromatic

The chemical compound 1,4-benzoquinone, also known as para-quinone, has the formula C6H4O2. It forms bright-yellow crystals with an unpleasant odour that resembles chlorine, bleach, and hot plastic or formaldehyde when it is pure. The oxidized derivative of 1,4-hydroquinone is this six-membered ring compound. The molecule serves as a ketone, capable of forming oximes, an oxidant, capable of forming the dihydroxy derivative, and an alkene, capable of undergoing addition reactions, especially those typical of, -unsaturated ketones. Both strong mineral acids and alkali react with 1,4-benzoquinone, causing condensation and decomposition of the compound.


Quinone Uses 

  1. Quinone is primarily used as a precursor to hydroquinone, which is used as a reducing agent and antioxidant in photography and rubber manufacturing. Benzoquinonium is a benzoquinone-based skeletal muscle relaxant and ganglion blocking agent.

  2. Ubiquinone-1 is a 1,4-benzoquinone that is found in nature and is involved in respiration.

  3. Ubiquinones, as their name suggests, are found in all living things and are components of the respiratory system. Blattellaquinone is a cockroach sex pheromone. They are thought to exist in all breathing species. Some act as electron acceptors in electron transport chains, such as those involved in photosynthesis (plastoquinone, phylloquinone) and aerobic respiration (phylloquinone, phylloquinone) (ubiquinone). Animals use phylloquinone, also known as Vitamin K1, to carboxylate specific proteins involved in blood coagulation, bone development, and other processes.

  4. Quinones are of pharmacological interest in a number of ways. They are a form of cytotoxin that is used in the fight against cancer. Daunorubicin, for example, is an antileukemic drug. Some of them have anti-tumour properties. They reflect some herbal medicine claims. 

  5. Quinone derivatives are used in many natural and synthetic colouring substances (dyes and pigments). They are only second to azo dyes in terms of value as dyestuffs, with a focus on blue colours. The first natural dye to be synthesized from coal tar was alizarin which was extracted from the madder plant.

  6. In organic chemistry, benzoquinone is used as an oxidizing agent. Chloranil and 2,3-dichloro-5,6-dicyano-1,4-benzoquinone are two strongly oxidizing quinones (also known as DDQ).

  7. 1,4-Benzoquinone is a toxic metabolite present in human blood that can be used to detect benzene intake or mixtures of benzene and benzene compounds, such as gasoline. The compound can disrupt cellular respiration, and extreme exposure has been linked to kidney damage in animals. It's excreted both in its natural state and as different forms of its own metabolite, hydroquinone.


Did You Know?

1,4-Benzoquinone can stain dark brown skin, cause erythema (redness and rashes on the skin), and cause localized tissue necrosis. It irritates the eyes and respiratory system in particular. Because of its ability to sublime at common temperatures, it poses a greater risk of airborne exposure than a room-temperature solid. The IARC found insufficient evidence to comment on the compound's carcinogenicity, but it did notice that it can easily move into the bloodstream, that it inhibits protease enzymes involved in cellular apoptosis, and that it showed activity in depressing bone marrow output in mice.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Difference Between Quinone and Quinine?

Ans: Quinone is an aromatic compound with two carbonyl functional groups in the same six-membered ring, while quinine is a bitter colourless powder, an alkaloid derived from cinchona bark, used to treat malaria and as an ingredient in tonic water.

2. Where is Quinone Found?

Ans: Quinones can be present in bacteria, fungi, and higher plant types, but they are only found in a few species. Sea urchins, aphids, lac insects, and certain scale insects are among the species that consume quinone compounds.

3. What is the Composition of Quinone?

Ans: Quinones are a category of organic compounds that are formally "derived from aromatic compounds [such as benzene or naphthalene] by converting an even number of –CH= groups into –C(=O)– groups with the required double bond rearrangement, resulting in "a complete conjugated cyclic dione structure."