The pentafluorosulfanyl (SF5) functional group was investigated from an environmental perspective to ascertain its physical properties and photolytic fate. Five aromatic probe compounds were compared with their trifluoromethyl analogs. Water solubilities for SF5 compounds ranged from 78 mg/L to 2.4 g/L. Octanol—water partitioning coefficients ranged from log Kow = 2.9 to 3.6, all of which were approximately 0.5 to 0.6 log units more hydrophobic than their trifluoromethyl analogs. The direct photolytic fate of SF5 compounds was studied, and the SF5 group was found to completely degrade using actinic radiation with hourly half-lives. The reaction was followed by high-performance liquid chromatography with a UV-visible detector, 19F nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and high-resolution mass spectrometry. It was found that five equivalents of fluoride were released to form a benzenesulfonate as a final product of photodegradation. Finally, an SF5 analog of fluometuron, a potentially new herbicide, was synthesized and likewise photolyzed. The present study provides the first evidence that pentafluorosulfanyl can degrade under mild, environmentally relevant conditions.
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