Butyric Acid Formula

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What is Butyric Acid?

Butyric acid is an alkyl carboxylic acid. Butyric acid is also known as butanoic acid according to the IUPAC nomenclature. It can be defined as the ester of the fatty acid found in animal and plant oil. They are responsible for the bad odor in the rancid butter, specifically, the hydrolysis of the butyric acid is responsible for the smell. The butanoic acid formula can be represented as CH3CH2CH2COOH. Butanoic acid is widely used for industrial purposes; they are used for the production of the esters of alcohol that are used as a flavoring agent. They are also used in the commercial production of plastic. The anhydride of butyric acid is used for plastic production. 

What is the Butanoic Acid Formula?

Butanoic acid is the IUPAC nomenclature given to the butyric acid, the butyric acid formula can be represented as CH3CH2CH2COOH. The alternative representation of the butanoic acid formula can be represented as C4H8O2. The butanoic acid formula represents only a single double bond in between the carbon and oxygen atom of the COO group which is known as the carboxylic acid group. Butyric acid is a four-carbon containing linear compound.  The butyric acid is also known as butyrates, which are also sometimes referred to as the butyrates.

The Butyric Acid Structural Formula

The butyric acid structure can be defined as the short chain linear structure of the alkyl carboxylic acid. There is only one double bond in butyric acid in the carboxylic group of the compound. The structural formula can be represented as 

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Properties of the Butyric Acid

Every chemical compound has some distinctive properties that are unique to the chemical compound and analysis of such properties is done for identification. Some of the physical properties of butyric acid are mentioned below:

  1. They are characterized as colourless liquid.

  2. They produce a bad smell during the hydrolysis.

  3. The molecular weight of butyric acid is estimated as 88.106 g/mol.

  4. The recorded density of the compound at the temperature at −43 °C is1.135 g/cm3. The density recorded is 0.9528 g/cm3 at the temperature of 25 °C.

  5. The melting temperature of the compound is recorded as −5.1 °C or 22.8 °F or 268.0 K

  6. The crystal structure can be described as monoclinic.

  7. The boiling point of the compound is recorded at 163.75 °C which is converted into  326.75 °F or  436.90 K.

  8. They are immiscible in water, but they are soluble in ethanol, ether. They are slightly soluble in tetrachloromethane, which is represented as CCl

Production of Butyric Acid

The production of butyric acid is achieved by both industrial methods and by microbial biosynthesis. The industrial method of production of butyric acid involves the oxidation of the butyraldehyde. The butyraldehyde is also known as the butanal. The production of butyric acid is summarized into a two-step chemical reaction.



The reaction is not self catalyzed; it rather requires a catalyst. The end product is separated with the help of calcium chloride salt. 

Natural Sources of Butyric Acid

The natural source of butyric acid includes the following compounds

  1. Plant Oils,

  2. Butter, 

  3. Animal Fat,

  4. Breast Milk,

  5. Bovine Milk, and

  6. Parmesan Cheese. 

Salts and Esters of Butanoic Acid.

The butyric acid formula is written as CH3CH2CH2 COOH, the butyric acid is also found as salt and ester at the physiological pH, the salts are also termed as the butyrate or butanoate. Butyrate can be defined as the conjugate base of the butyric acid, they are represented as C2H5COO−, the example of the butyric acid salt includes sodium butyrate. Some of the esters of the butyric acid are as follows

  1. Butyl butyrate

  2. Butyryl-CoA

  3. Cellulose acetate butyrate.

  4. Estradiol benzoate butyrate.

Uses of Butyric Acid

There is various use of the butanoic acid, but they are majorly used for the production of the butyrates that is the ester of the butyric acid. Some of the uses of butyric acid are listed below

  1. They are used for the production of esters, for example butyl butyrate.

  2. It is used for the production of cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB), cellulose acetate butyrate is used in paints. They are more resistant to degradation.

  3. They are used in the production of plastic, the anhydride of butyric acid is used for plastic production.

  4. They are also used as flavoring agents.


The butyric acid formula can be written as CH3CH2CH2COOH. The alternative representation of the butanoic acid formula is C4H8O2. They are colorless compounds responsible for the production of bad odor from rancid butter. The butyric acid structural formula greatly determines the physical and chemical properties of the compound. They are industrially produced by the oxidation of butyraldehyde. They have a variety of commercial uses including use in paint and flavoring agents. 

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. State Some of the Other Names of Butyric Acid.

Ans- Some of the different names of butyric acid includes butanoic acid, Ethyl Acetic acid

1-Propane Carboxylic acid and Propyl Formic acid.

2. Butyric Acid is Synthesized From Which Compound.

Ans- Butyric acid commercial production is a two-step reaction in which propene and syngas undergo hydroformylation to produce butyraldehyde, which undergoes oxidation to produce butanoic acid.

3. State Some of the Natural Sources of Butyric Acid.

Ans- Butter, animal fat, breast milk, bovine milk, and parmesan cheese are some of the common sources of butyric acid.