In organic chemistry ketone halogenation is a special type of halogenation. The reaction may be carried out under either acidic or basic conditions in an aqueous medium with the corresponding elemental halogen. In this way, chloride, bromide, and iodide (but notably not fluoride) functionality can be installed selectively in the alpha position of a ketone.
The position alpha to the carbonyl group in a ketone is easily halogenated, due to the ability to form an enolate in basic solution, or an enol in acidic solution. An example of alpha halogenation is the mono-bromination of acetone, carried out under either acidic or basic conditions, to give bromoacetone:
Acidic (in acetic acid):
Basic (in aqueous NaOH):
In acidic solution, usually only one alpha hydrogen is replaced by a halogen, because each successive halogenation is slower than the first. The halogen decreases the basicity of the carbonyl oxygen, thus making protonation less favorable. However, in basic solution successive halogenations are more rapid due to inductive electron withdrawal by the halogen, making the remaining hydrogens more acidic. In the case of methyl ketones, this reaction often occurs a third time to form a ketone trihalide, which can undergo rapid substitution with water to form a carboxylate in what is known as the haloform reaction.
- "Organic Chemistry" Fifth Edition, by Paula Yurkanis Bruice. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2007
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