Other synonyms are formylformic acid and oxoethanoic acid. The compound is an aldehyde and a carboxylic acid. Alkyl esters of glyoxylic acid are called alkyl glyoxylic acids. The compound is formed by organic oxidation of glycolic acid or ozonolysis of maleic acid. Glyoxylic acid is a liquid with a melting point of -93 °C and a boiling point of 111 °C. It is available commercially as a monohydrate or as a solution in water.
When the carboxyl group of glyoxylic acid loses a proton it turns into glyoxylate. This compound is an intermediate of the glyoxylate cycle, which enables organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and plants to convert fatty acids into carbohydrates. Glyoxylate is the byproduct of the amidation process in biosynthesis of several amidated peptides.