Phenolic Acid

What are Phenolic Acids?

Phenolic acids, also known as phenol carboxylic acids, are aromatic acids that contain a phenolic ring and a carboxyl functional group. Therefore, these compounds contain at least one aromatic ring, one hydroxy group, and one carboxyl group. Salicylic acid is one of the simplest phenolic acids. The structure of a salicylic acid molecule is illustrated below.

Phenolic Acid

Structure of Salicylic Acid – One of the Simplest Phenolic Acids

Other important naturally occurring phenolic acids include hydroxycinnamic acids and hydroxybenzoic acids. Hydroxycinnamic acids are derived from non-phenolic cinnamic acid molecules whereas hydroxybenzoic acids are derived from non-phenolic benzoic acid molecules.

Natural Occurrences of Phenolic Acids

  • Many dried fruits contain phenolic acids.
  • Phenolic acids can also be found in horse grams.
  • The Basidiomycetes species of mushroom is known to contain these organic compounds.
  • These aromatic acids can also be found in soil humus. 
  • Human urine also contains some phenolic acids.

Examples of Phenolic Acids

Some examples of phenolic acids are listed below.

  • Protocatechuic acid (PCA)
  • p-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA)
  • Vanillic acid
  • Caffeic acid
  • p-Coumaric acid
  • Ferulic acid
  • Syringic acid
  • Sinapinic acid

To learn more about Phenolic acids and other important types of aromatic compounds, register with BYJU’S and download the mobile application on your smartphone. 

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