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Abstract

Conversion of the formyl group at the 7-position in chlorophyll (Chl) b to the methyl group via the hydroxymethyl group is biologically important in Chl b degradation. To clarify the effects of the 7-substituents on demetalation properties of chlorophyllous pigments in the early process of Chl b degradation, we report demetalation kinetics of the zinc Chl derivative possessing a 7-hydroxymethyl group, which is a good model compound of the intermediate molecule in the early process of Chl b degradation, under acidic conditions, and compare its properties with those of zinc Chl derivatives possessing a methyl and a formyl group, which are model compounds of Chls a and b, respectively. Demetalation rate constants of 7-hydroxymethyl zinc chlorin were much larger than those of 7-formyl zinc chlorin, but were slightly smaller than those of 7-methyl zinc chlorin. The activation energy for demetalation reaction of 7-formyl zinc chlorin was larger than those of other derivatives. Demetalation rate constants of 7-deformyl-7-hydroxymethyl Chl b were also larger than those of Chl b, and were similar to those of Chl a. These indicate that the 7-hydroxymethyl group in the chlorin macrocycle has a smaller effect on demetalation compared with the 7-formyl group.