Any of a class of organic compounds containing a carbonyl group (singlehorzbondCdoublehorzbondO; see functional group) bonded to two carbon atoms. Ketones can participate in many chemical reactions, though to a lesser extent than the related aldehydes. Many more complex organic compounds have ketones as building blocks. Their chief industrial use is as solvents and in the manufacture of explosives, lacquers, paints, and textiles. Acetone is the most important ketone; several sugars and some natural and synthetic steroids are ketones. In ketosis, ketones produced by lipid metabolism accumulate in the blood and urine in abnormal amounts, usually because of starvation or a metabolic disease such as diabetes mellitus.
Learn more about ketone with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Simplest and most important ketone (CH3COCH3). It is a colourless, flammable liquid, boiling at 133 °F (56.2 °C). Many fats, resins, and organic materials dissolve easily in it, so it is used to make artificial fibres, explosives, resins, paints, inks, cosmetics (including nail-polish remover), coatings, and adhesives. Acetone is used as a chemical intermediate in pharmaceuticals and many other compounds.
Learn more about acetone with a free trial on Britannica.com.
A carbonyl carbon bonded to two carbon atoms distinguishes ketones from carboxylic acids, aldehydes, esters, amides, and other oxygen-containing compounds. The double-bond of the carbonyl group distinguishes ketones from alcohols and ethers. The simplest ketone is acetone, CH3-CO-CH3 (systematically named propanone).
The carbon atom adjacent to a carbonyl group is called the α-carbon. Hydrogens attached to this carbon are called α-hydrogens. In the presence of an acid catalyst the ketone is subjected to so-called keto-enol tautomerism. The reaction with a strong base gives the corresponding enolate. A diketone is a compound containing two ketone groups.
Oxo is the formal IUPAC nomenclature for a ketone functional group. However, other prefixes are also used by various books and journals. For some common chemicals (mainly in biochemistry), keto or oxo is the term used to describe the ketone (also known as alkanone) functional group. Oxo also refers to a single oxygen atom coordinated to a transition metal (a metal oxo).
Ketones are mainly caused by high blood sugars.
Scientists are currently working on a new fuel source for the human body, ketone bodies. These chemicals are present in our bodies already, made by the liver from fat when glucose is in short supply. But until now they have not been considered a food. When properly prepared, it is chewed and provides energy for athletes as well as fuel for brain function.