U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Theoretical Insights into the Gas-Phase Oxidation of 3-Methyl-2-butene-1-thiol by the OH Radical: Thermochemical and Kinetic Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
14 pages

The authors describe their research study which was designed to determine the thermochemistry and kinetics for the initial hydroxide radical addition and H-abstraction paths associated with the MBT + OH radical reaction, noting the practical applications and promotion of an understanding of the fundamental mechanism of unsaturated thiol interactions with OH radicals.


3-Methyl-2-butene-1-thiol ((CH3)2C═CH–CH2–SH; MBT) is a recently identified volatile organosulfur compound emitted from Cannabis sativa and is purported to contribute to its skunky odor. To understand its environmental fate, hydroxyl radical (•OH)-mediated oxidation of MBT was conducted using high-level quantum chemical and theoretical kinetic calculations. Three stable conformers were identified for the title molecule. Abstraction and addition pathways are possible for the MBT + OH radical reaction, and thus, potential energy surfaces involving H-abstraction and •OH addition were computed at the CCSD(T)/aug-cc-pV(T+d)Z//M06-2X/aug-cc-pV(T+d)Z level of theory. The barrier height for the addition of the OH radical to a C atom of the alkene moiety, leading to the formation of a C-centered MBT–OH radical, was computed to be −4.1 kcal mol–1 below the energy of the starting MBT + OH radical-separated reactants. This reaction was found to be dominant compared to other site-specific H-abstraction and addition paths. The kinetics of all the site-specific abstraction and addition reactions associated with the most stable MBT + OH radical reaction were assessed using the MESMER kinetic code between 200 and 320 K. Further, we considered the contributions from two other conformers of MBT to the overall reaction of MBT + OH radical. The estimated global rate coefficient for the oxidation of MBT with respect to its reactions with the OH radical was found to be 6.1 × 10–11 cm3 molecule–1 s–1 at 298 K and 1 atm pressure. The thermodynamic parameters and atmospheric implications of the MBT + OH reaction are discussed. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2024