The effects of γ-irradiation on five sulphonamides have been studied in aqueous solution and in the solid state. On irradiation in solution sulphathiazole yields sulphanilic acid (G = 0.6), sulphasuccidine yields sulphathiazole (G = 0.7), and thalamyd gives sulphacetamide (G = 1.4) and phthalic acid (G ∼ 1.0). Each of these transformations are initiated by reaction with the hydrated electron. The hydroxyl radical initiates degradation also and forms an adduct by addition to the aromatic ring, which eventually yields phenol products. The rates of reaction of the sulphonamides and certain related compounds with the hydrated electron and the hydroxyl radical and transient products of radiolysis have been determined using pulse radiolysis and steady state competition methods. G (- sulphonamide) values in aqueous solution vary from 3.5-5.1, and in the solid state from 0.15-0.6. The implications of the results in the radiation steralization of sulphonamide formulations are discussed.

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