Pyruvic Acid

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Pyruvic Acid Meaning

With a carboxylic acid and a ketone functional group, pyruvic acid (CH3COCOOH) is the most basic of the alpha-keto acids. Pyruvic acid (CH3COCOOH) is an organic acid found in almost all living organisms. It ionizes to form hydrogen ions and an anion. This anion is known as pyruvate. Pyruvate and pyruvic acid are almost interchangeable terms among biochemists. This article will study the pyruvate definition, pyruvate chemical formula,  the chemical formula of pyruvic acid, pyruvic acid to lactic acid and the difference between pyruvate and pyruvic acid.


Physical Properties-

  1. Pyruvic Acid Formula- C3H4O3

  2. Molar mass- 88.06 g/mol

  3. Density- 1.250 g/cm³

  4. Melting point- 11.8 °C (53.2 °F; 284.9 K)

  5. Boiling point- 165 °C (329 °F; 438 K)

  6. Acidity (pKa)- 2.50


Pyruvic Acid Structure

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Synthesis of Pyruvic Acid

Jöns Jacob Berzelius obtained pyruvic acid, formerly known as pyroracemic acid, by dry distillation of tartaric acid in 1835. Tartaric acid is heated with fused potassium hydrogen sulphate at 210–220 °C to make pyruvic acid in bulk quantities. Fractional distillation under reduced pressure is used to purify the sample. Pure pyruvic acid is a colourless liquid with a pungent odour similar to acetic acid at room temperature. It forms crystals as it cools and melts at 13.6 °C. The boiling point is 165 degrees Celsius.


What is Pyruvic Acid?

Pyruvic acid is a central substance at the crossroads of carbohydrate, fat, and protein catabolism (breaking down) and anabolism (synthesis).

Pyruvic acid may be made from glucose, converted back to carbohydrates (such as glucose) through gluconeogenesis, or converted to fatty acids via an acetyl-CoA reaction. It can also be used to make the amino acid alanine, and it can be fermented to produce ethanol or lactic acid.

Five metabolic processes share a complex sequence of enzyme reactions that lead from sugar (or carbohydrate, in the form of glucose or fructose) to pyruvate. 

They are:

  • yeast fermentation of sugar to ethyl alcohol; 

  • muscle fermentation of sugar to lactic acid; 

  • the Krebs cycle's oxidation of sugar to carbon dioxide and water; 

  • sugar conversion to fatty acids; and 

  • sugar conversion to amino acids, such as alanine, which are the building blocks of proteins.

Pyruvic Acid to Lactic Acid

  • When oxygen is present (aerobic respiration), pyruvic acid provides energy to living cells through the citric acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle); when oxygen is not present, it ferments to produce lactic acid. Pyruvate is a biochemically essential chemical compound. It's the product of glycolysis, which is anaerobic glucose metabolism. One molecule of glucose is broken down into two molecules of pyruvate, which are then used in one of two ways to provide additional energy.

  • Pyruvate is converted to acetyl-coenzyme A, which is the key input for the Krebs cycle, a sequence of reactions. An anaplerotic reaction converts pyruvate to oxaloacetate, which replenishes Krebs cycle intermediates and is often used for gluconeogenesis. These reactions are named after Hans Adolf Krebs, a biochemist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology with Fritz Lipmann in 1953 for his work on metabolic processes. Since citric acid is one of the intermediate compounds produced during the reactions, the cycle is also known as the citric acid cycle or tricarboxylic acid cycle.

  • When there isn't enough oxygen, the acid is broken down anaerobically, resulting in lactate in animals and ethanol in plants and microbes. Lactate fermentation uses the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase and the coenzyme NADH to convert pyruvate from glycolysis to lactate. In alcoholic fermentation, it is converted to acetaldehyde and then to ethanol.

  • Pyruvate is a significant intersection in the metabolic network. Pyruvate can be converted to carbohydrates through gluconeogenesis, fatty acids or energy via acetyl-CoA, amino acid alanine, and ethanol through gluconeogenesis. As a result, it connects a number of important metabolic processes.

Difference Between Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid

Pyruvic Acid 

Pyruvate 

Pyruvic acid is an organic acid that plays a significant role in human metabolism.

Pyruvate is the conjugate base of pyruvic acid.

The chemical formula of pyruvic acid is C3H4O3.

The pyruvate formula is C3H3O3⁻.

The molar mass of pyruvic acid is 88.06 g/mol.

The molar mass of pyruvate is 87.054 g/mol.

Pyruvic acid has 4 hydrogen atoms.

Pyruvate has 3 hydrogen atoms.

Pyruvic acid is an organic acid.

Pyruvate is an anion.

Pyruvic acid can release a proton.

Pyruvate cannot release protons.

Pyruvic acid is less stable at the pH value of the human body and tends to get converted into pyruvate.

Pyruvate is more stable at the pH value of the human body.


Did You Know?

Glycolysis is a metabolic pathway that transforms glucose (C₆H₁₂O₆) into pyruvate (CH₃COCOO) and a hydrogen ion (H⁺). The free energy released during this process is used to create the high-energy molecules ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide diphosphate) (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). Glycolysis is a ten-step process involving enzymes. Fructose and galactose are two monosaccharides that can be converted to one of these intermediates. Instead of being used as phases in the overall reaction, the intermediates could be used directly.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question: What is the Purpose of Pyruvic Acid?

A: Pyruvic acid is a central substance at the crossroads of carbohydrate, fat, and protein catabolism (breaking down) and anabolism (synthesis). Five metabolic processes share a complex sequence of enzyme reactions that lead from sugar (or carbohydrate, in the form of glucose or fructose) to pyruvate.

Question: What Type of Acid is Pyruvic Acid?

A: With a carboxylic acid and a ketone functional group, pyruvic acid (CH₃COCOOH) is the most basic of the alpha-keto acids. Pyruvate, also known as CH₃COCOO, is a central intermediate in a number of metabolic pathways in the cell.

Question: What are the Possible Fates of Pyruvic Acid in the Body?

A: In aerobic respiration, pyruvate is converted to lactate in muscle cells and ethyl alcohol is formed from pyruvate through the fermentation process, while in anaerobic respiration, pyruvate is converted to lactate in muscle cells and ethyl alcohol is formed from pyruvate through the fermentation process.