Thursday, July 08, 2010

Methanol Solubility Prediction Model 4 for Ugi reactions in the literature

Since non-aqueous solubility measurements have not become part of the standard characterization of organic compounds, it is not surprising that all the data we have for Ugi products originate from measurements that we made on our own compounds.

Since methanol is our most common solvent, Andrew Lang has collected the measurements that we have with values from the literature for a range of compounds, including our Ugi products, to generate a web service returning a predicted solubility based on a submitted SMILES string. The model (Model 4) was derived from a Random Forest algorithm, using molecular descriptors supplied by the CDK and VCC.

It would be nice to be able to test the model's ability to predict what will happen if a Ugi reaction is carried out in methanol. Although the actual solubility of Ugi products in the literature is typically not reported, reading the experimental sections in papers can still provide some validation of the model in some cases.

For example, consider the following Ugi products synthesized recently by Lezinska (Tetrahedron 2010)

Note that these images represent the azide group not following the octet rule. It is necessary to represent the structure SMILES without charges because the CDK and VCC web services used by the model do not process charges correctly. Stereochemistry also cannot be used and this can be removed from the SMILES simply by deleting slashes. Thus for the two molecules above the SMILES to be submitted to the prediction web service are:


The predicted methanol solubilities are respectively 0.004 M and 0.03 M.

Now if we look at the details in the experimental section, both of these Ugi products were synthesized in methanol at a limiting reactant concentration of about 0.1 M. Even though this is much more dilute than the usual 0.5-2.0 M generally recommended for Ugi reactions (Domling 2000), the products still precipitate and can be filtered off. This is consistent with the predicted solubilities above and the model would have suggested ahead of time that methanol might be a good solvent for isolation of the products by precipitation.

So far these are just anecdotal results but it does illustrate that solubility models can be evaluated without explicit determination of solubility in the literature.

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