The photostabilities of bacteriochlorophyll a and several of its derivatives, which are of interest as potential sensitizers in photodynamic tumor therapy, were investigated. The pigments were irradiated with light >630 nm in organic solvents (acetone, tetrahydrofuran, pyridine, methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, 2-propanol and toluene) and in aqueous detergent solutions (cetyl-trimethyl-ammonium bromide [CTAB], lauryldimethyl-aminoxide [LDAO] or sodium dodecyl-sulfate [SDS] and Triton X-100 [TX100]). Their stabilities in these different solvents were determined in the presence and absence of an external sensitizer (pyromethyl–pheophorbide a), oxygen, sodium ascorbate and inert gas (Ar) or vacuum. The photodegradation products of bacteriochlorophyll a in acetone solution were isolated, purified by HPLC and analyzed by their absorption spectra and mass spectroscopy. Besides the well-known dehydrogenation products, such as [3-acetyl]-chlorophyll a, which were obtained as by-products, the major products had low absorption in the visible–near infrared spectral range. The spectral signature of the major component of these products was characteristic of linear open-chain tetrapyrroles, but they lacked the characteristic protonation–deprotonation behavior and reactivity of bilins with Zn .
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Vol. 82 • No. 3