# 15.3: The Formation of Carboxylic Acids


##### Learning Objectives
• To describe the preparation of carboxylic acids.

As we noted previously, the oxidation of aldehydes or primary alcohols forms carboxylic acids:

In the presence of an oxidizing agent, ethanol is oxidized to acetaldehyde, which is then oxidized to acetic acid.

This process also occurs in the liver, where enzymes catalyze the oxidation of ethanol to acetic acid.

$\mathrm{CH_3CH_2OH \underset{oxidizing\: agent}{\xrightarrow{alcohol\: dehydrogenase}} CH_3CHO \underset{oxidizing\: agent}{\xrightarrow{alcohol\: dehydrogenase}} CH_3COOH} \nonumber$

Acetic acid can be further oxidized to carbon dioxide and water.

## Summary

Whether in the laboratory or in the body, the oxidation of aldehydes or primary alcohols forms carboxylic acids.

15.3: The Formation of Carboxylic Acids is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.