A member of a potential new class of radiation sensitizers which act by radiation induced oxygen release, 9,10-di (p-carboxyphenyl) anthracene-9,10-endoperoxide, a transannular peroxide, has been synthesized and evaluated in bacteria, Escherichia coli (B/r). This material acts as a sensitizer in air apparently by virtue of its high reactivity with water radicals to produce a transient but highly toxic material. In the absence of air, a small and qualitatively different effect is found which may be due to release of oxygen either in its normal state or in an excited singlet state.

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