An NMR Crystallographic Characterisation of Solid (+)-Usnic Acid

Daniel McLean Dawson*, Iain Smellie, Sharon E. Ashbrook*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use a combination of one- and two-dimensional solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT) calculations to obtain a full assignment of the 1H and 13C signals for solid (+)-usnic acid, which contains two molecules in the asymmetric unit. By combining through-space 1H-1H correlation data with computation it is possible to assign signals not just to the same molecules (relative assignment) but to assign the signals to specific crystallographic molecules (absolute assignment). Variable-temperature measurements reveal that there is some variation in many of the 13C chemical shifts with temperature, likely arising from varying populations of different tautomeric forms of the molecule. The NMR spectrum of crystalline (+)-usnic acid is then compared with that of ground Usnea dasopoga lichen (the source material of the usnic acid). The abundance of usnic acid is so great in the lichen that this natural product can be observed directly in the NMR spectrum without further purification. This natural sample of usnic acid appears to have the same crystalline form as that in the pure commercial sample.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2024


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