Theoretical calculations of the multistep reaction mechanism involved in asparagine pyrolysis supported by degree of rate control and thermodynamic control analyses

Cristian Cervantes, Jose R. Mora, Edgar Marquez, Javier Torres, Luis Rincón, Miguel A. Mendez, Jackson J. Alcázar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A computational study on the mechanisms of reaction for the pyrolysis of asparagine is presented. A density functional theory (DFT) study at the ! B97XD/6-311G(d,p) level was performed to analyze the differences in two reaction mechanisms: (i) the formation of five-membered cyclic products: maleimide and succinimide, and (ii) the more classical, six-membered cyclic products (diketopiperazine species) which are common in the pyrolysis of many other amino acids. The effect of temperature was included in the calculations at 300 °C or 625 °C, as required. Moreover, a detailed study based on the degree of rate control and thermodynamic control of the proposed mechanism for the formation of maleimide and succinimide is also presented. Results show that, for asparagine, the five-membered ring formation is the preferred process instead of the six-membered cycle (32 kJ/mol of Gibbs free energy difference between them at the first cyclization step); therefore, the polymerization is favored. On the other hand, the rupture of the polymer represents the highest energetic barrier (ΔG = 281 kJ/mol) and the most influential process in the overall rate of the reaction. These results are in good agreement with the experimental evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4847
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

Cite this