Semiempirical MNDO calculations with geometry optimization were carried out for seven 4-X-2-quinolone tautomers (X = H, CH3, Cl, OCH3, N(CH3)2, COOH, COOCH3). The results show that 2-hydroxyquinolines are less stabilized compared to 2-quinoIones than 2-hydroxypyridines vs. 2-pyridones. The earlier estimated correction applied to these MNDO results suggests that 4-X-2-quinolones have lower chemical binding energies than the corresponding 4-X-2- hydroxyquinolines by ca. 2.1-3.3 kcal/mol. It is additionally shown that the substituent in position 4 does not influence significantly the relative stabilities of the tautomers. The results of the calculations are verified by UV absorption studies of diluted decane solutions of 2-quinolones at ca. 120°.
CNDO/S-Cl-1 calculations based on the optimal MNDO geometries were carried out for 4-X-2- quinolone tautomers. The results generally agree well with the experimental data. A disagreement of the data for 4-COOR-2-quinolones is rationalized.