Free radicals (also simply called radicals) are highly reactive species because they possess one or more unpaired electrons. They are generated by: homolysis, which is an intramolecular bond-rupturing reaction, and heterolysis, which is an inherently intermolecular reaction.
Homolysis - This intramolecular bond-rupturing reaction generates two free radicals. While depicted (below) as generating products A • and B •, homolysis of reactant A-A would yield two A- free radicals.
Homolytic cleavage of the cobalt-carbon bond of Coen-zyme-B12 is a critical step needed to bring about subsequent carbon skeleton rearrangements observed in many
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