Partitioning of solutes in different solvent systems: the contribution of hydrogen-bonding capacity and polarity

J Pharm Sci. 1991 Jun;80(6):590-8. doi: 10.1002/jps.2600800619.


Published partition coefficient values of 121 solutes in five solvent systems (1-octanol-water, n-heptane-water, chloroform-water, diethyl ether-water, and n-butyl acetate-water) were correlated with solute properties, namely intrinsic molecular volume (indicator of cavity formation) and the solvatochromic parameters pi* (dipolarity/polarizability), beta (H-bond acceptor basicity), and alpha (H-bond donor acidity). While the cavity term and the H-bond accepting capacity played a comparable role in all solvent systems, the H-bond donor acidity was significant only in the alkane-water and chloroform-water systems. Comparison of the regression coefficients of pi*, beta, and alpha demonstrated the important role that water content at saturation in the organic solvents plays in the partitioning of solutes. Analysis of the differences between 1-octanol-water and n-heptane-water partition coefficients (delta log Poct-hep) and between 1-octanol-water and chloroform-water partition coefficients (delta log Poct-chf) showed that these values mainly quantitate the capacity of solute to donate hydrogen bonds. In contrast, the differences between 1-octanol-water and diethyl ether-water or n-butylacetate-water partition coefficients, (delta log Poct-dee and delta log Poct-ba, respectively) contain no structural information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Solutions / chemistry*
  • Solvents / chemistry*


  • Solutions
  • Solvents