Cyanogen halide

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A cyanogen halide is a molecule consisting of cyanide and a halogen. Cyanogen halides are chemically classified as pseudohalogens.

The cyanogen halides are a group of chemically reactive compounds which contain a cyano group (-CN) attached to a halogen element, such as fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine. Cyanogen halides are colorless, volatile, lacrimatory (tear-producing) and highly poisonous compounds.2 Cyanogen fluoride is a gas produced by heating cyanuric fluoride. Cyanogen chloride is a liquid produced by reacting chlorine with hydrocyanic acid. It has been suggested that cyanogen chloride be used by the military as poison gas. Cyanogen bromide is a solid that is prepared by reacting bromine with hydrocyanic acid salts; it has been used as a chemical pesticide against insects and rodents and as a reagent for the study of protein structure.[1] Cyanogen halides have been found to act as electrolytes in liquid solvents, sulfur dioxide, arsenious chloride, and sulfuryl chloride.

Biomedical Effects and Metabolism of cyanogen halides[edit]

Cyanide is naturally present in human tissues in very small quantities. It is metabolized by rhodanese, a live enzyme at a rate of approximately 17 µg/kg*min. Rhodanese catalyzes the irreversible reaction forming thiocyanate from cyanide and sulfane which is non-toxic and can be excreted through the urine. Under normal conditions, availability of sulfane is the limiting factor which acts as a substrate for rhodanese. Sulfur can be administered therapeutically as sodium thiosulfate to accelerate the reaction. A lethal dose of cyanide is time-dependent because of the body’s ability to detoxify and excrete small amounts of cyanide through rhodanese-sulfate catalysis. If an amount of cyanide is absorbed slowly, rhodanese-sulfate may be able to biologically render it non-toxic through catalysis to thiosulfate where as the same amount administered over a short period of time may be lethal.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cyanogen halide". Encyclopedia Britannica. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  2. ^ "Iodine cyanide". PubChem. NIH. Retrieved 2012-04-27.