Organic acids are compounds derived from hydrocarbons, in which some hydrogen atoms are replaced, by an oxygen atom and a hydroxyl group.
Functional groups are atomic dispositions that have constant characteristics and structure. The functional group of organic acids is called carboxyl, and its formula generates is –COOH.
In this functional group we have a carbon atom that instead of being attached to three hydrogen atoms, each with a single bond, is attached on the one hand with a covalent bond to an oxygen (O) atom, and on the other to a hydroxyl radical (OH). On the other hand, this functional group is linked to a radical. The radical consists of a hydrocarbon, an aromatic compound or other organic compound.
Depending on the number of carboxyl groups they possess, Organic Acids can be:
- Monocarboxylic (1 carboxyl group)
- Dicarboxylic (2 carboxyl groups)
- Tricarboxylic (3 carboxyl groups)
Main characteristics of organic acids:
Compared to inorganic acids, they are less reactive.
They have an acid and somewhat spicy taste.
The lightest are liquid, while the heaviest are solid.
They react with the bases producing salts.
Reacting with alcohols produce esters.
Its nomenclature is the acid name, followed by the name of the hydrocarbon, followed by the –oic termination. However, in everyday life, many of the acids retain their traditional names.
Example of organic acids
In daily life we ??find many organic acids:
The irritating substance produced by red ants and other insects, is an organic acid of formula H-COOH, commonly known as formic acid, whose name is methanoic acid.
- The most common is vinegar. Its chemical formula is CH 3 -COOH; It is also known as acetic acid or ethanoic acid.
- The acid in milk and that gives butter its characteristic flavor, is commonly known as butyric acid. Its formula is C 3 H 7 -COOH; Its nomenclature is Butyric acid.
- Some more complex organic acids are ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C, which is obtained mainly from citrus fruits.
- Another is salicylic acid, a compound extracted from the willow (hence its salicylic name, salix, willow). As it was irritating to the stomach, an acetic acid molecule was added, so it is commercially sold as acetylsalicylic acid; that is, it is a dicarboxylic acid.
- Nomenclature and Examples of Organic Acids: According to the IUPAC nomenclature: acid + hydrocarbon equivalent + “-oic”. Examples:
- H – COOH Methanoic acid
- CH 3 – COOH Ethanoic acid
- CH 3 – CH 2 – COOH Propanoic acid
- CH 3 – CH 2 – CH 2 – COOH Butanoic acid
Obtaining Organic Acids:
- Oxidation of Alcohols
- Ester hydrolysis
- Carboxylation of Alkenes