For my paper, I need to find the reaction between $\ce{(CH3)2Se2}$ and $\ce{H2O2}$ and between $\ce{SeC(NH2)2}$ and $\ce{H2O2}$. The mechanism below shows how I think it goes. The reaction should give an anion, an inorganic form of the selenide or selenourea but I'm unsure when the forms become anionic.

possible reaction?


$$\ce{\overset{+IV}{Se}O3^2- + H2O2 -> \overset{+VI}{Se}O4^2- + H2O}$$

If anyone could give me a push in the right direction or can confirm if the reactions in the picture are correct, I'd appreciate it very much. Thanks in advance!

  • $\begingroup$ I) I see no reason for Se-O-Se group formation II) I would be weird for H2O2 to cause SET, so unless there's catalyst, I don't see something like this happening to thiourea. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Apr 23 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ For the sulfur analogue search thiolsulfinate. I see no reason why selenium should not react in a similar manner. $\endgroup$ – Waylander Apr 23 at 18:43

I'm not familiar with selenium chemistry but am trying to help with the oxidation reaction of selenourea with hydrogen peroxide part. Here what I found on that reaction in literature (Ref.1):

Abstract: Reactions of biological oxidizing agents, such as hydroxyl radicals ($\ce{^•OH}$), singlet oxygen ($\ce{^1O2}$), hydrogen peroxide ($\ce{H2O2}$), and peroxynitrite ($\ce{ONOO-}$) with selenourea were studied. The kinetics of the reactions was followed using time-resolved techniques, and the bimolecular rate constants were determined. In all these reactions, under aerated conditions, elemental red selenium was produced as one of the reaction products. The average size of the selenium particles could be controlled and stabilized in the range of $\pu{20−100 nm}$ with the addition of bovine serum albumin (BSA) or sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). The particles were characterized by dynamic light scattering studies (DLS), which revealed that the size and distribution of the particles depended mainly on the amount of selenourea undergoing oxidation. Other factors such as the nature of the oxidant and the concentration of the stabilizer also are important in stabilizing the particles. Nanoselenium-reduced $\ce{ABTS^{•-}}$ to colorless $\ce{ABTS^2-}$ ($\ce{ABTS} =$ 2,2‘-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonate) and oxidized dichlorodihydrofluoresecein diacetate (DCFA) to fluorescent dichlorofluorescein (DCF) indicating its ability to participate in redox and free radical reactions. The reactivity of selenium nanoparticles with these systems varied linearly with the surface area of the particles. The studies demonstrate that selenourea undergoes oxidation with both one-electron and two-electron oxidants to produce elemental selenium, which, on stabilization to nanometer size, exhibits size-dependent redox activity.

The reaction mechanism is depicted in following Scheme, which is directly from Ref.1:

Formation of Elemental Selenium

Hope this help.


  1. B. Mishra, P. A. Hassan, K. I. Priyadarsini, Hari Mohan, “Reactions of Biological Oxidants with Selenourea:  Formation of Redox Active Nanoselenium,” J. Phys. Chem. B 2005, 109(26), 12718–12723 (DOI: 10.1021/jp051328n).

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