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1.any of a class of organic compounds containing the cyano radical -CN
NitrileNi"trile (? or ?), n. [See Nitro-.] (Chem.) Any one of a series of compounds bearing the cyanide radical (-CN); particularly, one of those cyanides of alcohol radicals which, by boiling with acids or alkalies, produce a carboxyl acid, with the elimination of the nitrogen as ammonia.
☞ The nitriles are named with reference to the acids produced by their decomposition, thus, hydrocyanic acid is formic nitrile, methyl cyanide is acetonitrile (also acetic nitrile), and ethyl cyanide is propionitrile (from propionic acid).
substance synthétique (fr)[Classe]
caoutchouc synthétique (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
nitrile; nitril; cyanide[ClasseHyper.]
A nitrile is any organic compound that has a -C≡N functional group. The prefix cyano- is used interchangeably with the term nitrile in industrial literature. Nitriles are found in many useful compounds, including methyl cyanoacrylate, used in super glue, and nitrile butadiene rubber, a nitrile-containing polymer used in latex-free laboratory and medical gloves. Organic compounds containing multiple nitrile groups are known as cyanocarbons.
Inorganic compounds containing the -C≡N group are not called nitriles, but cyanides instead. Though both nitriles and cyanides can be derived from cyanide salts, most nitriles are not nearly as toxic.
The first compound of the homolog row of nitriles, the nitrile of formic acid, hydrogen cyanide was first synthesized by C.W. Scheele in 1782. In 1811 J. L. Gay-Lussac was able to prepare the very toxic and volatile pure acid. The nitrile of benzoic acids was first prepared by Friedrich Wöhler and Justus von Liebig, but due to minimal yield of the synthesis neither physical nor chemical properties were determined nor a structure suggested. Théophile-Jules Pelouze synthesized propionitrile in 1834 suggesting it to be an ether of propionic alcohol and hydrocyanic acid. The synthesis of benzonitrile by Hermann Fehling in 1844, by heating ammonium benzoate, was the first method yielding enough of the substance for chemical research. He determined the structure by comparing it to the already known synthesis of hydrogen cyanide by heating ammonium formate to his results. He coined the name nitrile for the newfound substance, which became the name for the compound group.
In ammonoxidation, a hydrocarbon is partially oxidized in the presence of ammonia. This conversion is practiced on a large scale for acrylonitrile:
A side product of this process is acetonitrile. Most derivatives of benzonitrile as well as Isobutyronitrile are prepared by ammoxidation.
Often for more specialty applications, nitriles can be prepared by a wide variety of other methods. For example, alkyl halides undergo nucleophilic aliphatic substitution with alkali metal cyanides in the Kolbe nitrile synthesis. Aryl nitriles are prepared in the Rosenmund-von Braun synthesis.
The cyanohydrins are a special class of nitriles that result from the addition of metal cyanides to aldehydes in the cyanohydrin reaction. Because of the polarity of the organic carbonyl, this reaction requires no catalyst, unlike the hydrocyanation of alkenes.
Nitriles can be prepared by the Dehydration of primary amides. Many reagents are available, the combination of ethyl dichlorophosphate and DBU just one of them in this conversion of benzamide to benzonitrile:
In a related dehydration, secondary amides give nitriles by the von Braun amide degradation. In this case, one C-N bond is cleaved. The dehydration of aldoximes (RCH=NOH) also affords nitriles. Typical reagents for this transformation arewith triethylamine/sulfur dioxide, zeolites, or sulfuryl chloride. Exploiting this approach is the One-pot synthesis of nitriles from aldehyde with hydroxylamine in the presence of sodium sulfate.
Nitrile groups in organic compounds can undergo various reactions when subject to certain reactants or conditions. A nitrile group can be hydrolyzed, reduced, or ejected from a molecule as a cyanide ion.
The hydrolysis of nitriles RCN proceeds in the distinct steps under acid or base treatment to achieve carboxamides RC(=O)NH2 and then carboxylic acids RCOOH. The hydrolysis of nitriles is generally considered to be one of the best methods for the preparation of carboxylic acids. However, these base or acid catalyzed reactions have certain limitations and/or disadvantages for preparation of amides. The general restriction is that the final neutralization of either base or acid leads to an extensive salt formation with inconvenient product contamination and pollution effects. Particular limitations are as follows:
In organic reduction the nitrile is reduced by reacting it with hydrogen with a nickel catalyst; an amine is formed in this reaction (see nitrile reduction). Reduction to the amine followed by hydrolysis to the aldehyde takes place in the Stephen aldehyde synthesis
Alkyl nitriles are sufficiently acidic to form the carbanion, which alkylate a wide variety of electrophiles. Key to the exceptional nucleophilicity is the small steric demand of the CN unit combined with its inductive stabilization. These features make nitriles ideal for creating new carbon-carbon bonds in sterically demanding environments for use in syntheses of medicinal chemistry. Recent developments have shown that the nature of the metal counter-ion causes different coordination to either the nitrile nitrogen or the adjacent nucleophilic carbon, often with profound differences in reactivity and stereochemistry.
Nitrile oxides have the general structure R-CNO.
Nitriles occur naturally in a diverse set of plant and animal sources. Over 120 naturally occurring nitriles have been isolated from terrestrial and marine sources. Nitriles are commonly encountered in fruit pits, especially almonds, and during cooking of Brassica crops (such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower), which release nitriles being released through hydrolysis. Mandelonitrile, a cyanohydrin produced by ingesting almonds or some fruit pits, releases hydrogen cyanide and is responsible for the toxicity of cyanogenic glycosides.
Over 30 nitrile-containing pharmaceuticals are currently marketed for a diverse variety of medicinal indications with more than 20 additional nitrile-containing leads in clinical development. The nitrile group is quite robust and, in most cases, is not readily metabolized but passes through the body unchanged. The types of pharmaceuticals containing nitriles is diverse, from Vildagliptin an antidiabetic drug to Anastrazole which is the gold standard in treating breast cancer. In many instances the nitrile mimics functionality present in substrates for enzymes, whereas in other cases the nitrile increases water solubility or decreases susceptibility to oxidative metabolism in the liver.The nitrile functional group is found in several drugs.