Sulfonamides and sulfones are two different classes of organic compounds that contain the sulfonamide functional group (-SO2NH2) and the sulfonyl functional group (-SO2-), respectively.
Sulfonamides, also called sulfa drugs, are a group of synthetic antibiotics that were first discovered in the 1930s. They are derived from sulfanilamide, a molecule that mimics the structure of p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), a precursor of folic acid that is essential for bacterial growth. By competing with PABA for the enzyme dihydropteroate synthase, sulfonamides block the synthesis of folic acid in bacteria, resulting in their death. Sulfonamides are effective against a wide range of bacterial infections, but they are less effective against viral or fungal infections. Some examples of sulfonamides include sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine, and sulfisoxazole.
Sulfones, on the other hand, are a class of organic compounds that contain a sulfonyl group (-SO2-) in their molecular structure. They are often used as building blocks in organic synthesis, as they are versatile and reactive functional groups. Sulfones can be synthesized by the oxidation of a sulfide (-S-) group with an oxidizing agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or nitric acid. Sulfones are known for their thermal stability and resistance to hydrolysis, making them useful in a variety of industrial applications, such as plasticizers, solvents, and flame retardants. Some examples of sulfones include dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2), benzophenone-4, and bis(4-tert-butylphenyl)sulfone.