Benzoic acid /bɛnˈzoʊ.ɪk/, C7H6O2 (or C6H5COOH), is a colorless crystalline solid and a simple aromatic carboxylic acid. The name is derived from gum benzoin, which was for a long time its only known source. Benzoic acid occurs naturally in many plants and serves as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of many secondary metabolites. Salts of benzoic acid are used as food preservatives and benzoic acid is an important precursor for the industrial synthesis of many other organic substances. The salts and esters of benzoic acid are known as benzoates.
Functions and Applications
1.Precursor to plasticizers: Benzoate plasticizers, such as the glycol-, diethyleneglycol-, and triethyleneglycol esters, are obtained by transesterification of methyl benzoate with the corresponding diol. Alternatively these species arise by treatment of benzoylchloride with the diol. These plasticizers are used similarly to those derived from terephthalic acid ester.
2.Precursor to sodium benzoate and related preservatives: Benzoic acid and its salts are used as a food preservatives, represented by the E-numbers E210, E211, E212, and E213. Benzoic acid inhibits the growth of mold, yeast and some bacteria. It is either added directly or created from reactions with its sodium, potassium, or calcium salt. The mechanism starts with the absorption of benzoic acid into the cell. If the intracellular pH changes to 5 or lower, the anaerobic fermentation of glucose through phosphofructokinase is decreased by 95%. The efficacy of benzoic acid and benzoate is thus dependent on the pH of the food. Acidic food and beverage like fruit juice (citric acid), sparkling drinks (carbon dioxide), soft drinks (phosphoric acid), pickles (vinegar) or other acidified food are preserved with benzoic acid and benzoates.
3.Medicinal: Benzoic acid was used as an expectorant, analgesic, and antiseptic in the early 20th century
4.Benzoyl chloride: Benzoic acid is a precursor to benzoyl chloride, C6H5C(O)Cl by treatment with thionyl chloride, phosgene or one of the chlorides of phosphorus. Benzoyl chloride is an important starting material for several benzoic acid derivates like benzyl benzoate, which is used in artificial flavours and insect repellents
5.Niche and laboratory uses： In teaching laboratories, benzoic acid is a common standard for calibrating a bomb calorimeter