Carboxylic acid (COOH)

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Carboxylic acids are organic compounds which contain a carboxyl group (COOH), they are described by the general formula R-COOH, in which R denotes the remainder of the molecule minus the carboxyl group[1]. The carboxyl group acts as an acid by  dissociating into its conjugate ions of H+ and R-COO-. Carboxylic acids in nature Carboxylic acids occur extensively in nature, the carboxyl groups and amine groups of different amino acids react together to form peptide bonds and give rise to amino acid polymers otherwise known as proteins.

The carboxylic acid has a formula R-COOH and a structure that involves the carbon sharing a double bond with an oxygen molecule and another bond joining the carbon group to a OH group made up of oxygen bound to hydrogen. This carboxyl group is always found at the end of the molecule. In water a carboxylic acid will partially dissociate into carboxylate ions and H+ ions. A carboxylic acid can be obtained by oxidising an aldehyde.

Chemical Synthesis

Carboxylic acids can be chemically synthesised from aldehydes and alcohols, the oxidation of an alcohol gives an aldehyde, aldehydes can then be oxidised further to give carboxylic acids. 


  1. McNaught AD (1997). Compendium Of Chemical Terminology. 2nd ed. New York: Blackwell Science. 215.
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