Carboxylic acid

Carboxylic acid

Overview


Carboxylic acids (ˌkɑrbɒkˈsɪlɪk ...) are organic acid
Organic acid
An organic acid is an organic compound with acidic properties. The most common organic acids are the carboxylic acids, whose acidity is associated with their carboxyl group –COOH. Sulfonic acids, containing the group –SO2OH, are relatively stronger acids. The relative stability of the conjugate...

s characterized by the presence of at least one carboxyl group. The general formula of a carboxylic acid is R-COOH, where R is some monovalent
Valence (chemistry)
In chemistry, valence, also known as valency or valence number, is a measure of the number of bonds formed by an atom of a given element. "Valence" can be defined as the number of valence bonds...

 functional group
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

. A carboxyl group (or carboxy) is a functional group
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

 consisting of a carbonyl
Carbonyl
In organic chemistry, a carbonyl group is a functional group composed of a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom: C=O. It is common to several classes of organic compounds, as part of many larger functional groups....

 (RR'C=O) and a hydroxyl
Hydroxyl
A hydroxyl is a chemical group containing an oxygen atom covalently bonded with a hydrogen atom. In inorganic chemistry, the hydroxyl group is known as the hydroxide ion, and scientists and reference works generally use these different terms though they refer to the same chemical structure in...

 (R-O-H), which has the formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 -C(=O)OH, usually written as -COOH or -CO2H.

Carboxylic acids are Brønsted-Lowry acids because they are proton (H+) donors.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Carboxylic acid'
Start a new discussion about 'Carboxylic acid'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia


Carboxylic acids (ˌkɑrbɒkˈsɪlɪk ...) are organic acid
Organic acid
An organic acid is an organic compound with acidic properties. The most common organic acids are the carboxylic acids, whose acidity is associated with their carboxyl group –COOH. Sulfonic acids, containing the group –SO2OH, are relatively stronger acids. The relative stability of the conjugate...

s characterized by the presence of at least one carboxyl group. The general formula of a carboxylic acid is R-COOH, where R is some monovalent
Valence (chemistry)
In chemistry, valence, also known as valency or valence number, is a measure of the number of bonds formed by an atom of a given element. "Valence" can be defined as the number of valence bonds...

 functional group
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

. A carboxyl group (or carboxy) is a functional group
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

 consisting of a carbonyl
Carbonyl
In organic chemistry, a carbonyl group is a functional group composed of a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom: C=O. It is common to several classes of organic compounds, as part of many larger functional groups....

 (RR'C=O) and a hydroxyl
Hydroxyl
A hydroxyl is a chemical group containing an oxygen atom covalently bonded with a hydrogen atom. In inorganic chemistry, the hydroxyl group is known as the hydroxide ion, and scientists and reference works generally use these different terms though they refer to the same chemical structure in...

 (R-O-H), which has the formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 -C(=O)OH, usually written as -COOH or -CO2H.

Carboxylic acids are Brønsted-Lowry acids because they are proton (H+) donors. They are the most common type of organic acid
Organic acid
An organic acid is an organic compound with acidic properties. The most common organic acids are the carboxylic acids, whose acidity is associated with their carboxyl group –COOH. Sulfonic acids, containing the group –SO2OH, are relatively stronger acids. The relative stability of the conjugate...

. Among the simplest examples are formic acid
Formic acid
Formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its chemical formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in the venom of bee and ant stings. In fact, its name comes from the Latin word for ant, formica, referring to its early...

 H-COOH, that occurs in ant
Ant
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than...

s, and acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

 CH3-COOH, that gives vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

 its sour taste. Acids with two or more carboxyl groups are called dicarboxylic, tricarboxylic, etc. The simplest dicarboxylic example is oxalic acid
Oxalic acid
Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. This colourless solid is a dicarboxylic acid. In terms of acid strength, it is about 3,000 times stronger than acetic acid. Oxalic acid is a reducing agent and its conjugate base, known as oxalate , is a chelating agent for metal cations...

 (COOH)2, which is just two connected carboxyls. Mellitic acid
Mellitic acid
Mellitic acid, also called graphitic acid or benzenehexacarboxylic acid, is an acid first discovered in 1799 by M. H. Klaproth in the mineral mellite , which is the aluminium salt of the acid.- Preparation :...

 is an example of a hexacarboxylic acid. Other important natural examples are citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

 (in lemon
Lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

s) and tartaric acid
Tartaric acid
Tartaric acid is a white crystalline diprotic organic acid. It occurs naturally in many plants, particularly grapes, bananas, and tamarinds; is commonly combined with baking soda to function as a leavening agent in recipes, and is one of the main acids found in wine. It is added to other foods to...

 (in tamarind
Tamarind
Tamarind is a tree in the family Fabaceae. The genus Tamarindus is monotypic .-Origin:...

s).

Salts and ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

s of carboxylic acids are called carboxylates. When a carboxyl group is deprotonated, its conjugate base, a carboxylate anion is formed. Carboxylate ions are resonance stabilized and this increased stability makes carboxylic acids more acidic than alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

s. Carboxylic acids can be seen as reduced or alkylated forms of the Lewis acid
Lewis acid
]The term Lewis acid refers to a definition of acid published by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1923, specifically: An acid substance is one which can employ a lone pair from another molecule in completing the stable group of one of its own atoms. Thus, H+ is a Lewis acid, since it can accept a lone pair,...

 carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

; under some circumstances they can be decarboxylated
Decarboxylation
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide . Usually, decarboxylation refers to a reaction of carboxylic acids, removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain. The reverse process, which is the first chemical step in photosynthesis, is called carbonation, the addition of CO2 to...

 to yield carbon dioxide.

Solubility



Carboxylic acids are polar. Because they are both hydrogen-bond acceptors (the carbonyl) and hydrogen-bond donors (the hydroxyl), they also participate in hydrogen bond
Hydrogen bond
A hydrogen bond is the attractive interaction of a hydrogen atom with an electronegative atom, such as nitrogen, oxygen or fluorine, that comes from another molecule or chemical group. The hydrogen must be covalently bonded to another electronegative atom to create the bond...

ing. Together the hydroxyl and carbonyl group forms the functional group carboxyl. Carboxylic acids usually exist as dimeric pairs in nonpolar media due to their tendency to “self-associate.” Smaller carboxylic acids (1 to 5 carbons) are soluble with water, whereas higher carboxylic acids are less soluble due to the increasing hydrophobic nature of the alkyl chain. These longer chain acids tend to be rather soluble in less-polar solvents such as ethers and alcohols.

Boiling points


Carboxylic acids tend to have higher boiling points than water, not only because of their increased surface area, but because of their tendency to form stabilised dimers. Carboxylic acids tend to evaporate or boil as these dimers. For boiling to occur, either the dimer bonds must be broken, or the entire dimer arrangement must be vaporised, both of which increase enthalpy of vaporisation requirements significantly.

Acidity


Carboxylic acids are typically weak acid
Weak acid
A weak acid is an acid that dissociates incompletely. It does not release all of its hydrogens in a solution, donating only a partial amount of its protons to the solution...

s, meaning that they only partially dissociate
Dissociation (chemistry)
Dissociation in chemistry and biochemistry is a general process in which ionic compounds separate or split into smaller particles, ions, or radicals, usually in a reversible manner...

 into H+ cations and RCOO anions in neutral aqueous solution. For example, at room temperature, only 0.4% of all acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

 molecules are dissociated. Electronegative substituents give stronger acids.
Carboxylic acid pKa
Acid dissociation constant
An acid dissociation constant, Ka, is a quantitative measure of the strength of an acid in solution. It is the equilibrium constant for a chemical reaction known as dissociation in the context of acid-base reactions...

Formic acid
Formic acid
Formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its chemical formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in the venom of bee and ant stings. In fact, its name comes from the Latin word for ant, formica, referring to its early...

 (HCO2H)
3.77
Acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

 (CH3COOH)
4.76
Chloroacetic acid
Chloroacetic acid
Chloroacetic acid, industrially known as monochloroacetic acid is the organochlorine compound with the formula ClCH2CO2H. This carboxylic acid is a useful building-block in organic synthesis.-Production:...

  (CH2ClCO2H)
2.86
Dichloroacetic acid
Dichloroacetic acid
Dichloroacetic acid, often abbreviated DCA, is the chemical compound with formula . It is an acid, an analogue of acetic acid, in which two of the three hydrogen atoms of the methyl group have been replaced by chlorine atoms. The salts and esters of dichloroacetic acid are called dichloroacetates...

  (CHCl2CO2H)
1.29
Trichloroacetic acid
Trichloroacetic acid
Trichloroacetic acid is an analogue of acetic acid in which the three hydrogen atoms of the methyl group have all been replaced by chlorine atoms....

  (CCl3CO2H)
0.65
Trifluoroacetic acid
Trifluoroacetic acid
Trifluoroacetic acid is the simplest stable perfluorinated carboxylic acid chemical compound, with the formula CF3CO2H. It is a strong carboxylic acid due to the influence of the electronegative trifluoromethyl group. TFA is almost 100,000-fold more acidic than acetic acid...

  (CF3CO2H)
0.5
Oxalic acid
Oxalic acid
Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. This colourless solid is a dicarboxylic acid. In terms of acid strength, it is about 3,000 times stronger than acetic acid. Oxalic acid is a reducing agent and its conjugate base, known as oxalate , is a chelating agent for metal cations...

  (HO2CCO2H)
1.27
Benzoic acid
Benzoic acid
Benzoic acid , C7H6O2 , is a colorless crystalline solid and the simplest aromatic carboxylic acid. The name derived from gum benzoin, which was for a long time the only source for benzoic acid. Its salts are used as a food preservative and benzoic acid is an important precursor for the synthesis...

  (C6H5CO2H)
4.2

Deprotonation
Deprotonation
Deprotonation is the removal of a proton from a molecule, forming the conjugate base.The relative ability of a molecule to give up a proton is measured by its pKa value. A low pKa value indicates that the compound is acidic and will easily give up its proton to a base...

 of a carboxylic acid gives a carboxylate anion, which is resonance stabilized because the negative charge is delocalized between the two oxygen atoms increasing its stability. Each of the carbon-oxygen bonds in a carboxylate anion has partial double-bond character.

Odour


Carboxylic acids often have strong odours, especially the volatile derivatives. Most common are acetic acid (vinegar) and butanoic acid (rancid butter). On the other hand, esters of carboxylic acids tend to have pleasant odours and many are used in perfume
Perfume
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"...

s.

Characterization


Carboxylic acids are most readily identified as such by infrared spectroscopy
Infrared spectroscopy
Infrared spectroscopy is the spectroscopy that deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, that is light with a longer wavelength and lower frequency than visible light. It covers a range of techniques, mostly based on absorption spectroscopy. As with all spectroscopic...

. They exhibit a sharp band associated with vibration of the C-O vibration bond (νC=O) between 1680 and 1725 cm−1. A characteristic νO-H band appears as a broad peak in the 2500 to 3000 cm−1 region. By 1H NMR
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance is a physical phenomenon in which magnetic nuclei in a magnetic field absorb and re-emit electromagnetic radiation...

 spectrometry, the hydroxyl
Hydroxyl
A hydroxyl is a chemical group containing an oxygen atom covalently bonded with a hydrogen atom. In inorganic chemistry, the hydroxyl group is known as the hydroxide ion, and scientists and reference works generally use these different terms though they refer to the same chemical structure in...

 hydrogen appears in the 10-13 ppm region, although it is often either broadened or not observed owing to exchange with traces of water.

Occurrence and applications


Many carboxylic acids are produced industrially on a large scale. They are also pervasive in nature. Esters of fatty acids are the main components of lipids and polyamides of aminocarboxylic acids are the main components of proteins.

Carboxylic acids are used in the production of polymers, pharmaceuticals, solvents, and food additives. Industrially important carboxylic acids include acetic acid (component of vinegar, precursor to solvents and coatings), acrylic and methacrylic acids
Acrylic acid
Acrylic acid is an organic compound with the formula CH2=CHCO2H. It is the simplest unsaturated carboxylic acid, consisting of a vinyl group connected directly to a carboxylic acid terminus. This colorless liquid has a characteristic acrid or tart smell. It is miscible with water, alcohols,...

 (precursors to polymers, adhesives), adipic acid
Adipic acid
Adipic acid is the organic compound with the formula 42. From the industrial perspective, it is the most important dicarboxylic acid: About 2.5 billion kilograms of this white crystalline powder are produced annually, mainly as a precursor for the production of nylon...

 (polymers), citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

 (beverages), ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (chelating agent), fatty acids (coatings), maleic acid
Maleic acid
Maleic acid is an organic compound that is a dicarboxylic acid, a molecule with two carboxyl groups. Maleic acid is the cis-isomer of butenedioic acid, whereas fumaric acid is the trans-isomer...

 (polymers), propionic acid
Propionic acid
Propanoic acid is a naturally occurring carboxylic acid with chemical formula CH3CH2COOH. It is a clear liquid with a pungent odor...

 (food preservative), terephthalic acid
Terephthalic acid
Terephthalic acid is the organic compound with formula C6H42. This colourless solid is a commodity chemical, used principally as a precursor to the polyester PET, used to make clothing and plastic bottles. Several billion kilograms are produced annually...

 (polymers).

Industrial routes


Industrial routes to carboxylic acids generally differ from those used on smaller scale because they require specialized equipment.
  • Oxidation of aldehydes with air using cobalt and manganese catalysts. The required aldehyde
    Aldehyde
    An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

    s are readily obtained from alkenes by hydroformylation
    Hydroformylation
    Hydroformylation, also known as oxo synthesis or oxo process, is an important industrial process for the production of aldehydes from alkenes. This chemical reaction entails the addition of a formyl group and a hydrogen atom to a carbon-carbon double bond...

    .
  • Oxidation of hydrocarbons using air. For simple alkanes, the method is nonselective but so inexpensive to be useful. Allylic and benzylic compounds undergo more selective oxidations. Alkyl groups on a benzene ring oxidized to the carboxylic acid, regardless of its chain length. Benzoic acid
    Benzoic acid
    Benzoic acid , C7H6O2 , is a colorless crystalline solid and the simplest aromatic carboxylic acid. The name derived from gum benzoin, which was for a long time the only source for benzoic acid. Its salts are used as a food preservative and benzoic acid is an important precursor for the synthesis...

     from toluene
    Toluene
    Toluene, formerly known as toluol, is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, i.e., one in which a single hydrogen atom from the benzene molecule has been replaced by a univalent group, in this case CH3.It is an aromatic...

     and terephthalic acid
    Terephthalic acid
    Terephthalic acid is the organic compound with formula C6H42. This colourless solid is a commodity chemical, used principally as a precursor to the polyester PET, used to make clothing and plastic bottles. Several billion kilograms are produced annually...

     from para-xylene
    Xylene
    Xylene encompasses three isomers of dimethylbenzene. The isomers are distinguished by the designations ortho- , meta- , and para- , which specify to which carbon atoms the two methyl groups are attached...

    , and phthalic acid
    Phthalic acid
    Phthalic acid is an aromatic dicarboxylic acid, with formula C6H42. It is an isomer of isophthalic acid and terephthalic acid. Although phthalic acid is of modest commercial importance, the closely related derivative phthalic anhydride is a commodity chemical produced on a large...

     from ortho-xylene
    Xylene
    Xylene encompasses three isomers of dimethylbenzene. The isomers are distinguished by the designations ortho- , meta- , and para- , which specify to which carbon atoms the two methyl groups are attached...

     are illustrative large-scale conversions. Acrylic acid
    Acrylic acid
    Acrylic acid is an organic compound with the formula CH2=CHCO2H. It is the simplest unsaturated carboxylic acid, consisting of a vinyl group connected directly to a carboxylic acid terminus. This colorless liquid has a characteristic acrid or tart smell. It is miscible with water, alcohols,...

     is generated from propene.
  • Base-catalyzed dehydrogenation of alcohols.
  • Carbonylation is versatile method when coupled to the addition of water. This method is effective for alkenes that generate secondary and tertiary carbocation
    Carbocation
    A carbocation is an ion with a positively-charged carbon atom. The charged carbon atom in a carbocation is a "sextet", i.e. it has only six electrons in its outer valence shell instead of the eight valence electrons that ensures maximum stability . Therefore carbocations are often reactive,...

    s, e.g. isobutylene
    Isobutylene
    Isobutylene is a hydrocarbon of significant industrial importance. It is a four-carbon branched alkene , one of the four isomers of butylene. At standard temperature and pressure it is a colorless flammable gas.-Uses:...

     to pivalic acid
    Pivalic acid
    Pivalic acid is a carboxylic acid with a molecular formula of 3CCO2H. This colourless, odiferous organic compound is solid at room temperature.-Industrial route:...

    . In the Koch reaction
    Koch reaction
    The Koch reaction is an organic reaction for the organic synthesis of certain tertiary carboxylic acids from an alkene, carbon monoxide and water .This process is used on an industrial scale with annual production of 150.000 tons....

    , the addition of water and carbon monoxide to alkenes is catalyzed by strong acids. Acetic acid and formic acid are produced by the carbonylation
    Carbonylation
    Carbonylation refers to reactions that introduce carbon monoxide into organic and inorganic substrates. Carbon monoxide is abundantly available and conveniently reactive, so it is widely used as a reactant in industrial chemistry.-Organic chemistry:...

     of methanol, conducted with iodide
    Iodide
    An iodide ion is the ion I−. Compounds with iodine in formal oxidation state −1 are called iodides. This page is for the iodide ion and its salts. For information on organoiodides, see organohalides. In everyday life, iodide is most commonly encountered as a component of iodized salt,...

     and alkoxide promoters, respectively and often with high pressures of carbon monoxide, usually involving additional hydrolytic steps. Hydrocarboxylations involve the simultaneous addition of water and CO. Such reactions are sometimes called "Reppe chemistry
    Walter Reppe
    Walter Julius Reppe was a German chemist. He is notable for his contributions to the chemistry of acetylene.-Education and career:...

    ":
HCCH + CO + H2O → CH2=CHCO2H

  • Some long chain carboxylic acids are obtained by the hydrolysis of triglyceride
    Triglyceride
    A triglyceride is an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids. There are many triglycerides, depending on the oil source, some are highly unsaturated, some less so....

    s obtained from plant or animal oils. These methods are related to soap making.
  • fermentation
    Fermentation (biochemistry)
    Fermentation is the process of extracting energy from the oxidation of organic compounds, such as carbohydrates, using an endogenous electron acceptor, which is usually an organic compound. In contrast, respiration is where electrons are donated to an exogenous electron acceptor, such as oxygen,...

     of ethanol is used in the production of vinegar
    Vinegar
    Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

    .

Laboratory methods


Preparative methods for small scale reactions for research or for production of fine chemicals often employ expensive consumable reagents.
  • oxidation of primary alcohols
    Oxidation of primary alcohols to carboxylic acids
    The oxidation of primary alcohols to carboxylic acids is an important oxidation reaction in organic chemistry.When a primary alcohol is converted to a carboxylic acid, the terminal carbon atom increases its oxidation state by four...

     or aldehyde
    Aldehyde
    An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

    s with strong oxidants such as potassium dichromate, Jones reagent, potassium permanganate
    Potassium permanganate
    Potassium permanganate is an inorganic chemical compound with the formula KMnO4. It is a salt consisting of K+ and MnO4− ions. Formerly known as permanganate of potash or Condy's crystals, it is a strong oxidizing agent. It dissolves in water to give intensely purple solutions, the...

    , or sodium chlorite
    Sodium chlorite
    Sodium chlorite is a chemical compound used in the manufacture of paper.-Use:The main application of sodium chlorite is the generation of chlorine dioxide for bleaching and stripping of textiles, pulp, and paper. It is also used for disinfection of a few municipal water treatment plants after...

    . The method is amenable to laboratory conditions compared to the industrial use of air, which is “greener” since it yields less inorganic side products such as chromium or manganese oxides.
  • Oxidative cleavage of olefins by ozonolysis
    Ozonolysis
    Ozonolysis is the cleavage of an alkene or alkyne with ozone to form organic compounds in which the multiple carbon–carbon bond has been replaced by a double bond to oxygen...

    , potassium permanganate
    Potassium permanganate
    Potassium permanganate is an inorganic chemical compound with the formula KMnO4. It is a salt consisting of K+ and MnO4− ions. Formerly known as permanganate of potash or Condy's crystals, it is a strong oxidizing agent. It dissolves in water to give intensely purple solutions, the...

    , or potassium dichromate.
  • Carboxylic acids can also be obtained by the hydrolysis of nitrile
    Nitrile
    A nitrile is any organic compound that has a -C≡N functional group. The prefix cyano- is used interchangeably with the term nitrile in industrial literature. Nitriles are found in many useful compounds, one example being super glue .Inorganic compounds containing the -C≡N group are not called...

    s, ester
    Ester
    Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

    s, or amide
    Amide
    In chemistry, an amide is an organic compound that contains the functional group consisting of a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom . The term refers both to a class of compounds and a functional group within those compounds. The term amide also refers to deprotonated form of ammonia or an...

    s, generally with acid- or base-catalysis.
  • Carbonation of a Grignard and organolithium reagents:
RLi + CO2 RCO2Li
RCO2Li + HCl RCO2H + LiCl
  • Halogenation followed by hydrolysis of methyl ketones in the haloform reaction
    Haloform reaction
    The haloform reaction is a chemical reaction where a haloform is produced by the exhaustive halogenation of a methyl ketone in the presence of a base. R may be , alkyl or aryl...

  • The Kolbe-Schmitt reaction
    Kolbe-Schmitt reaction
    The Kolbe–Schmitt reaction/Kolbe process is a carboxylation chemical reaction that proceeds by heating sodium phenolate with carbon dioxide under pressure , then treating the product with sulfuric acid...

     provides a route to salicylic acid
    Salicylic acid
    Salicylic acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. This colorless crystalline organic acid is widely used in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin...

    , precursor to aspirin
    Aspirin
    Aspirin , also known as acetylsalicylic acid , is a salicylate drug, often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication. It was discovered by Arthur Eichengrun, a chemist with the German company Bayer...

    .

Less-common reactions


Many reactions afford carboxylic acids but are used only in specific cases or are mainly of academic interest:
  • Disproportionation of an aldehyde
    Aldehyde
    An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

     in the Cannizzaro reaction
    Cannizzaro reaction
    The Cannizzaro reaction, named after its discoverer Stanislao Cannizzaro, is a chemical reaction that involves the base-induced disproportionation of an aldehyde lacking a hydrogen atom in the alpha position...

  • Rearrangement of diketones in the benzilic acid rearrangement
    Benzilic acid rearrangement
    The benzilic acid rearrangement is the rearrangement reaction of benzil with potassium hydroxide to benzilic acid. First performed by Justus Liebig in 1838 this reaction type is displayed by 1,2-diketones in general...

     involving the generation of benzoic acids are the von Richter reaction
    Von Richter reaction
    The von Richter reaction is the chemical reaction of aromatic nitro compounds with potassium cyanide giving carboxylation ortho to the position of the former nitro group. The reaction is named after Victor von Richter.-Reaction mechanism:...

     from nitrobenzenes and the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction
    Kolbe-Schmitt reaction
    The Kolbe–Schmitt reaction/Kolbe process is a carboxylation chemical reaction that proceeds by heating sodium phenolate with carbon dioxide under pressure , then treating the product with sulfuric acid...

     from phenol
    Phenol
    Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

    s.

Reactions


The most widely practiced reactions convert carboxylic acids into esters, amides, carboxylate salts, acid chlorides, and alcohols. Carboxylic acids react with bases
Base (chemistry)
For the term in genetics, see base A base in chemistry is a substance that can accept hydrogen ions or more generally, donate electron pairs. A soluble base is referred to as an alkali if it contains and releases hydroxide ions quantitatively...

 to form carboxylate salts, in which the hydrogen of the hydroxyl (-OH) group is replaced with a metal cation. Thus, acetic acid found in vinegar reacts with sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula Na HCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda . The natural mineral form is...

 (baking soda) to form sodium acetate, carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, and water:
CH3COOH + NaHCO3 → CH3COONa+ + CO2 + H2O


Carboxylic acids also react with alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

s to give ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

s. This process is heavily used in the production of polyesters. Similarly carboxylic acids are converted into amide
Amide
In chemistry, an amide is an organic compound that contains the functional group consisting of a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom . The term refers both to a class of compounds and a functional group within those compounds. The term amide also refers to deprotonated form of ammonia or an...

s, but this conversion typically does not occur by direct reaction of the carboxylic acid and the amine. Instead esters are typical precursors to amides. The conversion of amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

s into peptide
Peptide
Peptides are short polymers of amino acid monomers linked by peptide bonds. They are distinguished from proteins on the basis of size, typically containing less than 50 monomer units. The shortest peptides are dipeptides, consisting of two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond...

s is a major biochemical process that requires ATP
Adenosine triphosphate
Adenosine-5'-triphosphate is a multifunctional nucleoside triphosphate used in cells as a coenzyme. It is often called the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer. ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism...

.

The hydroxyl group on carboxylic acids may be replaced with a chlorine atom using thionyl chloride
Thionyl chloride
Thionyl chloride is an inorganic compound with the formula SOCl2. It is a reactive chemical reagent used in chlorination reactions. It is a colorless, distillable liquid at room temperature and pressure that decomposes above 140 °C. Thionyl chloride is sometimes confused with sulfuryl...

 to give acyl chloride
Acyl chloride
In organic chemistry, an acyl chloride is an organic compound with the functional group -CO-Cl. Their formula is usually written RCOCl, where R is a side chain. They are usually considered to be reactive derivatives of carboxylic acids. A specific example of an acyl chloride is acetyl chloride,...

s. In nature, carboxylic acids are converted to thioester
Thioester
Thioesters are compounds with the functional group C-S-CO-C. They are the product of esterification between a carboxylic acid and a thiol. Thioesters are widespread in biochemistry, the best-known derivative being acetyl-CoA.-Synthesis:...

s.

Carboxylic acid can be reduced to the alcohol by hydrogenation
Hydrogenation
Hydrogenation, to treat with hydrogen, also a form of chemical reduction, is a chemical reaction between molecular hydrogen and another compound or element, usually in the presence of a catalyst. The process is commonly employed to reduce or saturate organic compounds. Hydrogenation typically...

 or using stoichiometric hydride reducing agents such as lithium aluminium hydride
Lithium aluminium hydride
Lithium aluminium hydride, commonly abbreviated to LAH or known as LithAl, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula LiAlH4. It was discovered by Finholt, Bond and Schlesinger in 1947. This compound is used as a reducing agent in organic synthesis, especially for the reduction of esters,...

.

N,N-dimethylchloromethylenammonium chloride is a highly chemoselective agent for carboxylic acid reduction. It selectively activate the carboxylic acid and is known to tolerate active functionalities such as ketone as well as the moderate ester, olefin, nitrile and halide moeties.

Specialized reactions

  • As with all carbonyl compounds, the protons on the α-carbon are labile due to keto-enol tautomerization. Thus the α-carbon is easily halogenated in the Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky halogenation
    Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky halogenation
    The Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky halogenation reaction halogenates carboxylic acids at the α carbon. The reaction is named after three chemists, the German chemists Carl Magnus von Hell and Jacob Volhard and the Russian chemist Nikolay Zelinsky .- Scheme :Unlike other halogenation reactions, this...

    .
  • The Schmidt reaction
    Schmidt reaction
    The Schmidt reaction is an organic reaction involving alkyl migration over the carbon-nitrogen chemical bond in an azide with expulsion of nitrogen...

     converts carboxylic acids to amine
    Amine
    Amines are organic compounds and functional groups that contain a basic nitrogen atom with a lone pair. Amines are derivatives of ammonia, wherein one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced by a substituent such as an alkyl or aryl group. Important amines include amino acids, biogenic amines,...

    s.
  • Carboxylic acids are decarboxylated in the Hunsdiecker reaction
    Hunsdiecker reaction
    The Hunsdiecker reaction is the organic reaction of silver salts of carboxylic acids with halogens to give organic halides. It is an example of a halogenation reaction...

    .
  • The Dakin-West reaction
    Dakin-West reaction
    The Dakin–West reaction is a chemical reaction that transforms an amino-acid into a keto-amide using an acid anhydride and a base, typically pyridine. It is named for Henry Drysdale Dakin and Randolph West . Of special note, the keto-amide product is always racemic.With pyridine as a base and...

     converts an amino acid to the corresponding amino ketone.
  • In the Barbier-Wieland degradation, the alpha-methylene group in an aliphatic carboxylic acid is removed in a sequence of reaction steps, effectively a chain-shortening. The inverse procedure is the Arndt-Eistert synthesis
    Arndt-Eistert synthesis
    The Arndt-Eistert synthesis is a series of chemical reactions designed to convert a carboxylic acid to a higher carboxylic acid homologue and is considered a homologation process...

    , where an acid is converted into acyl halide and reacts with diazomethane
    Diazomethane
    Diazomethane is the chemical compound CH2N2. It is the simplest of diazo compounds. In the pure form at room temperature, it is a extremely sensitive explosive yellow gas, thus it is almost universally used as a solution in diethyl ether...

     to give the highest homolog.
  • Many acids undergo decarboxylation. Enzyme
    Enzyme
    Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

    s that catalyze these reactions are known as carboxylases (EC
    EC number
    The Enzyme Commission number is a numerical classification scheme for enzymes, based on the chemical reactions they catalyze....

     6.4.1) and decarboxylases (EC 4.1.1).
  • Carboxylic acids are reduced to aldehydes via the ester
    Ester
    Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

     and DIBAL
    Diisobutylaluminium hydride
    Diisobutylaluminium hydride, DIBAL, DIBAL-H or DIBAH, is a reducing agent with the formula 2, where i-Bu represents isobutyl...

    , via the acid chloride in the Rosenmund reduction
    Rosenmund reduction
    The Rosenmund reduction is a chemical reaction that reduces an acid halide to an aldehyde using hydrogen gas over palladium-on-carbon poisoned with barium sulfate...

     and via the thioester in the Fukuyama reduction
    Fukuyama reduction
    The Fukuyama reduction is an organic reaction and an organic reduction in which a thioester is reduced to an aldehyde by a silyl hydride in presence of a catalytic amount of palladium. This reaction was invented in 1990 by Tohru Fukuyama...

    .

Nomenclature and examples


Carboxylic acids are commonly named as indicated in the table below. Although rarely used, IUPAC-recommended names also exist. For example, butyric acid
Butyric acid
Butyric acid , also known under the systematic name butanoic acid, is a carboxylic acid with the structural formula CH3CH2CH2-COOH. Salts and esters of butyric acid are known as butyrates or butanoates...

 (C3H7CO2H) is, according to IUPAC guidelines, also known as butanoic acid.

The carboxylate anion R-COO is usually named with the suffix -ate, so acetic acid, for example, becomes acetate ion. In IUPAC nomenclature
IUPAC nomenclature
A chemical nomenclature is a set of rules to generate systematic names for chemical compounds. The nomenclature used most frequently worldwide is the one created and developed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry ....

, carboxylic acids have an -oic acid suffix (e.g., octadecanoic acid). In common nomenclature, the suffix is usually -ic acid (e.g., stearic acid
Stearic acid
Stearic acid is the saturated fatty acid with an 18 carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is CH316CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word στέαρ "stéatos", which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates...

).
Straight-chained, saturated carboxylic acids
Carbon atoms Common name IUPAC name Chemical formula Common location or use
1 Formic acid
Formic acid
Formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its chemical formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in the venom of bee and ant stings. In fact, its name comes from the Latin word for ant, formica, referring to its early...

 
Methanoic acid HCOOH Insect stings
2 Acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

 
Ethanoic acid CH3COOH Vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

3 Propionic acid
Propionic acid
Propanoic acid is a naturally occurring carboxylic acid with chemical formula CH3CH2COOH. It is a clear liquid with a pungent odor...

 
Propanoic acid CH3CH2COOH Preservative for stored grains
4 Butyric acid
Butyric acid
Butyric acid , also known under the systematic name butanoic acid, is a carboxylic acid with the structural formula CH3CH2CH2-COOH. Salts and esters of butyric acid are known as butyrates or butanoates...

 
Butanoic acid CH3(CH2)2COOH Rancid butter
5 Valeric acid
Valeric acid
Valeric acid, or pentanoic acid, is a straight-chain alkyl carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C5H10O2. Like other low-molecular-weight carboxylic acids, it has a very unpleasant odor. It is found naturally in the perennial flowering plant valerian , from which it gets its name. Its...

 
Pentanoic acid CH3(CH2)3COOH Valerian
Valerian (herb)
Valerian is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers which bloom in the summer months. Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the sixteenth century....

6 Caproic acid Hexanoic acid
Hexanoic acid
Hexanoic acid , is the carboxylic acid derived from hexane with the general formula C5H11COOH. It is a colorless oily liquid with an odor that is fatty, cheesy, waxy, and like that of goats or other barnyard animals...

CH3(CH2)4COOH Goat fat
7 Enanthic acid Heptanoic acid
Heptanoic acid
Heptanoic acid, also called enanthic acid, is an organic compound composed of a seven-carbon chain terminating in a carboxylic acid. It is an oily liquid with an unpleasant, rancid odor. It contributes to the odor of some rancid oils...

CH3(CH2)5COOH
8 Caprylic acid
Caprylic acid
Caprylic acid is the common name for the eight-carbon saturated fatty acid known by the systematic name octanoic acid. It is found naturally in the milk of various mammals, and it is a minor constituent of coconut oil and palm kernel oil...

 
Octanoic acid CH3(CH2)6COOH Coconuts and breast milk
9 Pelargonic acid Nonanoic acid
Nonanoic acid
Nonanoic acid, also called pelargonic acid, is an organic compound composed of a nine-carbon chain terminating in a carboxylic acid with structural formula CH37COOH. Nonanoic acid forms esters—nonanoates. It is a clear, oily liquid with an unpleasant, rancid odor...

CH3(CH2)7COOH Pelargonium
Pelargonium
Pelargonium is a genus of flowering plants which includes about 200 species of perennials, succulents, and shrubs, commonly known as scented geraniums or storksbills. Confusingly, Geranium is the correct botanical name of a separate genus of related plants often called Cranesbills. Both Geranium...

10 Capric acid Decanoic acid
Decanoic acid
Decanoic acid, or capric acid, is a saturated fatty acid.Its formula is CH38COOH. Salts and esters of decanoic acid are called decanoates...

CH3(CH2)8COOH
12 Lauric acid
Lauric acid
Lauric acid , the saturated fatty acid with a 12-carbon atom chain, is a white, powdery solid with a faint odor of bay oil or soap.-Occurrence:...

 
Dodecanoic acid CH3(CH2)10COOH Coconut oil and hand wash soaps.
14 Myristic acid
Myristic acid
Myristic acid, also called tetradecanoic acid, is a common saturated fatty acid with the molecular formula CH312COOH. A myristate is a salt or ester of myristic acid....

 
Tetradecanoic acid CH3(CH2)12COOH Nutmeg
16 Palmitic acid
Palmitic acid
Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. Its molecular formula is CH314CO2H. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees . Palmitate is a term for the salts and esters of...

 
Hexadecanoic acid CH3(CH2)14COOH Palm oil
18 Stearic acid
Stearic acid
Stearic acid is the saturated fatty acid with an 18 carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is CH316CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word στέαρ "stéatos", which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates...

 
Octadecanoic acid CH3(CH2)16COOH Chocolate, waxes, soaps, and oils
20 Arachidic acid
Arachidic acid
Arachidic acid, also called eicosanoic acid, is the saturated fatty acid with a 20 carbon chain. It is as a minor constituent of peanut oil and corn oil . Its name derives from the Latin arachis — peanut...

 
Icosanoic acid CH3(CH2)18COOH Peanut oil

Other carboxylic acids
Compound class Members
unsaturated monocarboxylic acids acrylic acid
Acrylic acid
Acrylic acid is an organic compound with the formula CH2=CHCO2H. It is the simplest unsaturated carboxylic acid, consisting of a vinyl group connected directly to a carboxylic acid terminus. This colorless liquid has a characteristic acrid or tart smell. It is miscible with water, alcohols,...

 (2-propenoic acid) – CH2=CHCOOH, used in polymer synthesis
>-
Fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

s
medium to long-chain saturated and unsaturated monocarboxylic acids, with even number of carbons examples docosahexaenoic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain and retina. In chemical structure, DHA is a carboxylic acid with a 22-carbon chain and six cis double bonds; the first double bond is located at the third carbon from the omega end...

 and eicosapentaenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 20:5. It also has the trivial name timnodonic acid...

 (nutritional supplements)
Amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

s
the building blocks of protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s
Keto acid
Keto acid
Keto acids are organic compounds that contain a carboxylic acid group and a ketone group. The alpha-keto acids are especially important in biology as they are involved in the Krebs citric acid cycle and in glycolysis...

s
acids of biochemical significance that contain a ketone
Ketone
In organic chemistry, a ketone is an organic compound with the structure RCR', where R and R' can be a variety of atoms and groups of atoms. It features a carbonyl group bonded to two other carbon atoms. Many ketones are known and many are of great importance in industry and in biology...

 group e.g. acetoacetic acid
Acetoacetic acid
Acetoacetic acid is the organic compound with the formula CH3CCH2CO2H. It is the simplest beta-keto acid group and like other members of this class is unstable.- Synthesis and properties :...

 and pyruvic acid
Pyruvic acid
Pyruvic acid is an organic acid, a ketone, as well as the simplest of the alpha-keto acids. The carboxylate ion of pyruvic acid, CH3COCOO−, is known as pyruvate, and is a key intersection in several metabolic pathways....

Aromatic carboxylic acids benzoic acid
Benzoic acid
Benzoic acid , C7H6O2 , is a colorless crystalline solid and the simplest aromatic carboxylic acid. The name derived from gum benzoin, which was for a long time the only source for benzoic acid. Its salts are used as a food preservative and benzoic acid is an important precursor for the synthesis...

, the sodium salt of benzoic acid is used as a food preservative, salicylic acid
Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. This colorless crystalline organic acid is widely used in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin...

 – a beta hydroxy type found in many skin care products
Dicarboxylic acid
Dicarboxylic acid
Dicarboxylic acids are organic compounds that contain two carboxylic acid functional groups. In molecular formulae for dicarboxylic acids, these groups are often written as HOOC-R-COOH, where R may be an alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl, or aryl group...

s
containing two carboxyl groups examples adipic acid
Adipic acid
Adipic acid is the organic compound with the formula 42. From the industrial perspective, it is the most important dicarboxylic acid: About 2.5 billion kilograms of this white crystalline powder are produced annually, mainly as a precursor for the production of nylon...

 the monomer used to produce nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 and aldaric acid
Aldaric acid
Aldaric acids are a group of sugar acids, where the terminal hydroxyl groups of the sugars have been replaced by terminal carboxylic acids, and are characterised by the formula HOOC-n-COOH....

 – a family of sugar acids
Tricarboxylic acid
Tricarboxylic acid
A tricarboxylic acid is an organic carboxylic acid whose chemical structure contains three carboxyl functional groups . The best-known example of a tricarboxylic acid is citric acid.-Examples:*Citric acid*Isocitric acid*Aconitic acid...

s
containing three carboxyl groups example citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

 – found in citrus fruits and isocitric acid
Isocitric acid
Isocitric acid is a protonated form of isocitrate, which is a substrate of the citric acid cycle. Isocitrate is formed from citrate with the help of the enzyme aconitase, and is acted upon by isocitrate dehydrogenase...

Alpha hydroxy acid
Alpha hydroxy acid
α-Hydroxy acids, or alpha hydroxy acids , are a class of chemical compounds that consist of a carboxylic acid substituted with a hydroxyl group on the adjacent carbon. They may be either naturally occurring or synthetic. AHAs are well-known for their use in the cosmetics industry...

s
containing a hydroxy group example glyceric acid
Glyceric acid
Glyceric acid is a natural three-carbon sugar acid. Salts and esters of glyceric acid are known as glycerates.Biochemistry=Several phosphate derivatives of glyceric acid, including 2-phosphoglyceric acid, 3-phosphoglyceric acid, 2,3-bisphosphoglyceric acid, and 1,3-bisphosphoglyceric acid, are...

, glycolic acid
Glycolic acid
Glycolic acid is the smallest α-hydroxy acid . This colorless, odorless, and hygroscopic crystalline solid is highly soluble in water. It is used in various skin-care products. Glycolic acid is found in some sugar-crops...

 and lactic acid
Lactic acid
Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes and was first isolated in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Lactic acid is a carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C3H6O3...

 (2-hydroxypropanoic acid) – found in sour milk tartaric acid
Tartaric acid
Tartaric acid is a white crystalline diprotic organic acid. It occurs naturally in many plants, particularly grapes, bananas, and tamarinds; is commonly combined with baking soda to function as a leavening agent in recipes, and is one of the main acids found in wine. It is added to other foods to...

 - found in wine

Carboxyl radical


The radical ·COOH (CAS# 2564-86-5) has only a separate fleeting existence. The acid dissociation constant
Acid dissociation constant
An acid dissociation constant, Ka, is a quantitative measure of the strength of an acid in solution. It is the equilibrium constant for a chemical reaction known as dissociation in the context of acid-base reactions...

 of ·COOH has been measured using electron paramagnetic resonance
Electron paramagnetic resonance
Electron paramagnetic resonance or electron spin resonance spectroscopyis a technique for studying chemical species that have one or more unpaired electrons, such as organic and inorganic free radicals or inorganic complexes possessing a transition metal ion...

 spectrocopy. The carboxyl group tends to dimerise to form oxalic acid
Oxalic acid
Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. This colourless solid is a dicarboxylic acid. In terms of acid strength, it is about 3,000 times stronger than acetic acid. Oxalic acid is a reducing agent and its conjugate base, known as oxalate , is a chelating agent for metal cations...

.

See also


  • Acid anhydride
  • Acid chloride
  • Amide
    Amide
    In chemistry, an amide is an organic compound that contains the functional group consisting of a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom . The term refers both to a class of compounds and a functional group within those compounds. The term amide also refers to deprotonated form of ammonia or an...

  • Ester
    Ester
    Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...


External links