Dhristi JEE 2022-24

What is Acetate?

An acetate is salt that is formed by the combination of acetic acid with a base (for example, earthy, alkaline, metallic, nonmetallic, or the radical base). The term "Acetate" also depicts the conjugate base or ion (more specifically, the negatively charged ion, referred to as an anion) found typically in an aqueous solution and has written with the chemical formula C2H3O−2.

The neutral molecules produced by the combination of the acetate ion and a positive ion (which is called a cation) are also commonly known as "acetates" (hence, acetate of aluminum, acetate of lead, and more). The simplest of these is the hydrogen acetate, also called acetic acid, with corresponding esters, salts, and the polyatomic anion CH3CO−2, or CH3COO.

Acetate Structure

The acetate structure can be represented as follows:

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Properties of Acetate (C2H3O2−)

Let us discuss the important properties of Acetate:

Acetate Chemical Formula for Acetate ion formula


Monoisotopic Mass of Acetate

59.013 g/mol

Molecular Weight of Acetate

59.044 g/mol

Conjugate acid

Acetic acid



Acetate ion Symbol


Key Points of Acetate

  • The term "acetate" is known to the acetate anion, the acetate functional group, and to the compounds that include the acetate anion.

  • The chemical formula for acetate anion is given by C2H3O2-.

  • The simplest compound that is made using acetate is ethanoate or hydrogen acetate, which is most often known as acetic acid.

  • Acetate in the form of the acetyl CoA can be used in metabolism in yielding chemical energy. However, much acetate content in the bloodstream can lead to adenosine accumulation, which causes hangover symptoms.

Fermentation of Acetate

Acetic acid undergoes a dismutation reaction to generate methane and carbon dioxide.

It can be represented as below.

CH3COO- + H+ ---> CH4 + CO2 ΔG° = -36 kJ/mol

This reaction is carried in the presence of catalyst methanogen archaea. A transfer of one electron occurs from the carboxylic group to the methyl group of acetic acid to generate methane gas and carbon dioxide.

Forms of Acetate

Remember that everything is introduced from the parent molecule acetic acid as we go through each acetate form. It means, by starting with acetic acid, we can produce from these various forms of acetate.

Let us discuss the three forms of acetate:

Different forms of acetate

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The first form in the above-given diagram is acetate as an anion. Anion can be explained as an atom, which carries a negative charge. An atom charged is known as an ion. Also, it is known that when acetic acid loses a proton (H), it will become charged. This charged species is referred to as the acetate ion.

Chemical Reaction Used to Produce the Acetate Salt and Sodium Acetate

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Salt is the second form of acetate. In chemistry, a salt is formed when two ions combine together. Like a saying that we all have heard of, 'opposites attract,' the same thing applies to ions used to produce salts. When an anion (a negatively charged atom) is attracted to a cation (a positively charged atom), the result becomes a salt or an ionic compound.

Returning back to acetic acid, when this compound loses a proton to produce an acetate ion, it can bind to a cation, producing a salt. Therefore, the compound sodium acetate is commonly found in our potato chips and is formed from this process. Seeing the above representation, the anion named acetate is attracted to the cation, named sodium. This opposite attraction forms the sodium acetate molecule that adds to the vinegar taste in that bag of chips, which is addicting.

Molecular Structure of the Acetate Ester, Ethyl Acetate

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Ester is the last form of acetate. It is to make a note to properly spell the term because it matches the holiday, Easter, or Esther's name. However, it is the functional group ester. An ester is a type of compound made from a carboxylic acid, whose hydroxyl (OH) group is replaced with an alkoxy (O-alkyl) group.

In this form, we see ethyl acetate, which can be used in products ranging from makeup to decaffeinated coffee. The alkoxy group present in the ethyl acetate structure is circled.

Difference Between Acetate and Acetic Acid

The primary difference between acetate and acetic acid can be said that acetate is a neutral compound, whereas acetate is an anion that carries a net negative electric charge. The acetic acid is an organic compound that helps to create vinegar, and on the other side, acetate ion is the acetic conjugate base of an acid.

Uses of an Acetate (C2H3O2−)

The primary and important uses of acetate can be given as follows.

  • We can use acetate as a solvent in inks, paints, coatings.

  • It is used in diapers.

  • Cellulose acetate can be used in eyeglass frames.

  • It is also used in laboratories.

  • Potassium acetate can be used as a food preservative.

  • An aluminium acetate can be used as an anti stringent.

FAQs on Acetate

1. How Does an Acetate Produce?

The acetate fiber develops by using acetic anhydride to react with the wood pulp of high purity. The acetate flakes formed by this chemical reaction are dissolved in a solvent, filtered, and then modified to obtain a spinning stock solution.

The acetate anion belongs to the carboxylate family, and it is considered a conjugate base of acetic acid. The acetic acid was converted to acetate at a pH value of above 5.5. Acetate is a common anion in Biology, where organisms utilize it in the form of acetyl coenzyme A. It is also proposed that acetate produced by oxidizing ethanol is a major factor for causing hangovers.

2. Give Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Acetate?

Acetate is among the most flexible fabrics, and it can resist wrinkling.

Let us look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of it below.

Advantages - It has a silky appearance and a luxurious feel to it.

Disadvantages - The dyes can bleed or fade, are prone to heat, and are relatively poor fibres. Acetate can be used as a hand wash and for clothes with warm water, and as a light-duty detergent.

3. Is Acetate an Acid or a Base?

The sodium acetate is a basic salt, where the acetate ion will deprotonate water, thereby increasing the pH value of the solution. The acid salts are a converse of the basic salts, and they are produced in the neutralization reaction between the strong acid and a weak base. Then, the conjugate acid of a weak-base makes the salt acidic.