Four new hydroxybenzotriazole derivatives have been synthesized. Two of them, N-tetradecyl-1-hydroxy-1H-benzo[d][1,2,3]triazole-6-carboxamide (2) and N-tetradecyl-1-hydroxy-1H-benzo[d][1,2,3]triazole-7-carboxamide (3), possess long alkyl chains, while the other two, 1-hydroxy-1H-benzo[d][1,2,3]triazole-6-carboxylic acid (4) and 1-hydroxy-1H-benzo[d][1,2,3]triazole-7-carboxylic acid (5), have carboxylate side chains. These compounds along with their parent unsubstituted 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (HOBt), 1, have been examined for the cleavage of p-nitrophenyl hexanoate (PNPH) and p-nitrophenyl diphenyl phosphate (PNPDPP) in comicelles with monovalent cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTABr) and the corresponding bis-cationic gemini surfactants 16-m-16, 2Br(-) of identical chain length at 25 degrees C and pH 8.2. The apparent pK(a) values of the HOBt derivatives in the comicelles of CTABr or 16-4-16 gemini surfactant have been determined from the rate versus pH profiles and were found to be comparable. Catalytic system 4/16-4-16 demonstrated over 2200- and 1650-fold rate enhancements in the hydrolysis of PNPDPP and PNPH, respectively, for identical reactions carried out at pH 8.2 and 25 degrees C in buffered aqueous media. The second-order rate constants for such bimolecular reactions were determined employing pseudophase micellar models. Experiments in which excess substrate was taken over HOBt derivatives demonstrated that the catalysts "turned over"; hydrolysis of the putative acylated or phosphorylated HOBt intermediates was rapid in either type of host micelles.