Pterins (PTs) belong to a class of heterocyclic compounds present in a wide range of living systems. They participate in relevant biological functions and are involved in different photobiological processes. We have investigated the reactivity of conjugated PTs (folic acid [FA], 10-methylfolic acid [MFA], pteroic acid [PA]) and unconjugated PTs (PT, 6-hydroxymethylpterin [HPT], 6-methylpterin [MPT], 6,7-dimethylpterin [DPT], rhamnopterin [RPT]) with singlet oxygen (1O2) in aqueous solutions, and compared the efficiencies of chemical reaction and physical quenching. The chemical reactions between 1O2, produced by photosensitization, and PT derivatives were followed by UV-visible spectrophotometry and high-performance liquid chromatography, and corresponding rate constants (kr) were evaluated. Whenever possible, products were identified and quantified. Rate constants of 1O2 total quenching by the PT derivatives investigated were obtained from steady-state 1O2 luminescence measurements. Results show that the behavior of conjugated PTs differs considerably from that of unconjugated derivatives, and the mechanisms of 1O2 physical quenching by these compounds and of their chemical reaction with 1O2 are discussed in relation to their structural features.
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