Rise in the pH of an unfrozen solution in ice due to the presence of NaCl and promotion of decomposition of gallic acids owing to a change in the pH.

The journal of physical chemistry. A

PubMedID: 16956245

Takenaka N, Tanaka M, Okitsu K, Bandow H. Rise in the pH of an unfrozen solution in ice due to the presence of NaCl and promotion of decomposition of gallic acids owing to a change in the pH. J Phys Chem A. 2006;110(36):10628-32.
Oxidative decomposition of gallic acid occurs in alkaline solutions but hardly arises in acidic solutions. We have found that the addition of sodium chloride promotes the decomposition of gallic acid caused by freezing even under neutral and acidic conditions. Even at pH 4.5, gallic acid was decomposed by freezing in the presence of NaCl; however, in the absence of NaCl, it was hardly decomposed by freezing at pH lower than 7. Chloride ions are more easily incorporated in ice than sodium ions when the NaCl solution is frozen. The unfrozen solution in ice becomes positively charged, and as a result, protons transfer from the unfrozen solution to the ice. We measured the pH in the unfrozen solution which coexists with single-crystal ice formed from a 5 mmol dm(-3) NaCl solution and determined the pH to be 8.6 at equilibrium with CO(2) of 380 ppm or 11.3 in the absence of CO(2) compared to pH 5.6 in the original solution. From the model calculation performed for gallic acid solution in the presence of 5 mmol dm(-3) NaCl, it can be estimated that the amount of OH(-) transferred from the ice to the solution corresponds to 1.26 x 10(-5) mol dm(-3). The amount of OH(-) transferred is concentrated into the unfrozen solution and affects the pH of the unfrozen solution. Therefore, the pH in an unfrozen gallic acid solution in ice becomes alkaline, and the decomposition of gallic acid proceeds. It is expected that other base-catalyzed reactions in weakly acidic solutions also proceed by freezing in the presence of NaCl without the need for any alkaline reagents.