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What is ethyl benzoate?

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Quick Answer

Ethyl benzoate is an ester with a pleasant odor. It is commonly used as a flavoring agent in various substances. This ester is present in alcoholic beverages, fruits, milk, butter and black tea. For the most part, ethyl benzoate originates from food and is considered a nutrient.

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Full Answer

Ethyl benzoate is a colorless liquid with an odor that smells similar to wintergreen or medicine. This chemical compound is able to produce an aromatic odor because ethyl benzoate possesses a volatile ester group in its structure. Among several other esters, this substance is a popular ingredient in most artificial fruit flavors and sweetly scented fragrances. Other than its use as a flavoring agent, ethyl benzoate can also be used as a lab chemical. When mixed with water, ethyl benzoate is insoluble. Ethyl benzoate tends to be compatible with most organic solvents. Ethyl benzoate can also be written using its molecular formula, C9H10O2.

Scientists produce ethyl benzoate in a laboratory by condensing benzoic acid and ethanol. Sulfuric acid is regularly used as a catalyst in this chemical reaction. The preparation procedure is typically conducted using a normal plastic pipette and a water bath. Using this method, ethyl benzoate can generally be produced in approximately 20 minutes.

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