Quinones are oxidized derivatives of aromatic compounds. The precursors of quinones can either be benzene or naphthalene. The alkenes (-C=C-) structures are converted into carbonyl (>C=O) forms to create completely conjugated cyclic dione compounds. The most original member of the quinone family is ‘1,4-benzoquinone’ also known by the name of  ‘cyclohexadienedione’ or simply  ‘quinone’ with an IUPAC nomenclature of (cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione).

Quinone structure

Quinones are strong oxidizing agents and many compounds of this class belong to toxic compounds. They are used in analytical processes to figure out chemical and biological reactions and reagents.

The widespread occurrence and speciality in basic metabolite related reactions of life such as respiration and photosynthesis have made this family, a special one.

Derivatives of Quinone

There are some derivatives of 1,4-benzoquinone, called the members of the quinone family. 1,2-benzoquinone, 1,4-naphthoquinone, and 9,10-anthraquinone are such compounds.

1,2-benzoquinone and 1,4-napthoquinone and 9,10-anthaquinone

Quinones arise from the metabolism of organic compounds such as benzene, phenol, other aromatic and polycyclic aromatic compounds. The most common type of quinone found in nature is naphthoquinone.

Uses of Quinones

They are the dietary component for plants, used in the production of hydroquinones, dyes, fungicides, and maintain vital cellular processes.

Battlellaquinone, a sex pheromone found in German cockroaches.

Quinones as Pharmacological applicants

Quinones are basic units of a variety of pharmacological and toxicological applications. The use includes:

  • Antibiotics (cassic acid)
  • Antitumor (Daunorubicin) (Emodin, 6-methyl-1,3,8-trihydroxyanthraquinone) (Juglone, 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthalenedione)
  • Antimalarial
  • Anticoagulants
  • Anticardiovascular medicine (tanshinone, red sage)
  • Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)

Quinones as industrial applicants

  • Production of hydrogen peroxide (Anthraquinone process).

(Several million metric tons of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) are produced every year around the globe).

  • Respiration apparatuses contain Ubiquinone-1 (1,4-benzoquinone).
  • Many natural and artificial dyes contain quinones. Lawsone and henna are such examples. Quinones form the most important dyes after azo-dyes.
  • AQDS (9,10-anthraquinone-2,7-disulphonic acid) is used as a charge carrier material in metal-free, flow batteries.

Quinones are hazardous

The hazardous nature of quinones can damage eyes, skin, and respiratory tracks. Long exposure to quinones may cause skin necrosis.