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Tests for Aldehydes and Ketones

Aldehydes and ketones constitute an important class of organic compounds containing the carbonyl group. Aldehyde has the structure RCH(=O) while a ketone has the structure of R2C(=O), where R may be an alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl or aryl group.

Table of Contents

Aim:

To identify the presence of aldehydes or ketones functional group in the given organic compound.

Theory:

Aldehydes and ketones of low molecular weights are volatile compounds. Identification of aldehydes and ketones is based on two types of reactions, addition reaction to the double bond and oxidation reaction.

In aldehydes, the carbonyl group is attached to a hydrogen atom and an aliphatic or aromatic group. Formaldehyde is an exceptional case in which the carbonyl present in formaldehyde is attached to two hydrogen atoms. In ketones, the carbonyl group is attached to two aliphatic or aromatic groups.

The following tests are used to identify the presence of aldehydes and ketones.

  1. 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine test
  2. Sodium bisulphite test

The difference between ketone and aldehyde is the carbonyl group present in aldehydes can be easily oxidised to carboxylic acids, whereas the carbonyl group in ketones is not oxidised easily. This difference in reactivity is the basis for the distinction between aldehydes and ketones. They are generally distinguished by the following tests.

  1. Schiff’s test
  2. Fehling’s test
  3. Tollen’s test
  4. Test with chromic acid
  5. Sodium nitroprusside test

(a) 2,4-Dinitrophenyl Hydrazine Test:

Aldehydes and ketones react with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine to give an orange-yellow precipitate.

The chemical reaction is given below.

2,4-Dinitrophenyl Hydrazine Test

Note: Formation of orange-yellow crystals indicates the presence of carbonyl group.

(b) Sodium Bisulphite (NaHSO3)Test:

Aldehydes and ketones combine with sodium bisulphite to for well-crystallized water-soluble products known as “aldehyde bisulphite” and “ketone bisulphite”.

The chemical reaction is given below.

Sodium Bisulfite Test

Note: Formation of crystalline precipitate confirms carbonyl group.

Distinguishing Tests between Aldehydes and Ketones:

(c) Schiff’s Test:

Schiff’s reagent is prepared by passing sulphur dioxide into a solution of the dye fuchsin. The solution becomes colourless due to the formation of an additional product. Aldehydes abstract sulphurous acid from Schiff’s reagent and restore the pink colour. The colouration is due to the formation of complex compound. Ketones, in general, do not respond to this reaction.

The reaction should not be subjected to heat. Some ketones give a light pink colour with Schiff’s reagent therefore light pink colour formation is not a positive test.

Note: Appearance of pink, red or magenta colour indicates the presence of aldehyde group.

(d) Fehling’s Test:

Fehling’s solution is a complex compound of Cu2+. When the aldehyde compound is treated with Fehling’s solution Cu2+ is reduced to Cu+ and the aldehyde is reduced to acids. During the reaction, a red precipitate is formed.

Fehling's Test

Aromatic aldehydes do not respond to Fehling’s test. An aqueous solution of the compound may be used instead of an alcoholic solution. Formic acid also gives this test.

Note: The appearance of red precipitate confirms the presence of an aldehydic group.

(e) Tollen’s Test: (Silver Mirror Test)

This test is also called the silver mirror test. Tollens reagent consists of silver ammonia complex in ammonia solution. Aldehydes react with Tollens reagent giving a grey-black precipitate or a silver mirror. Always a freshly prepared Tollen’s reagent should be used. Aldehydes are oxidised to the corresponding acids, and silver in Tollens reagent is reduced from +1 oxidation state to its elemental form. Generally, ketones do not respond to this test.

RCHO + 2[Ag(NH3)2]OH → R-COONH4 + 3NH3 + H2O + 2Ag↓(silver mirror)

Apart from aldehydes some other compounds also respond to Tollen’s test, but the presence of aldehydes is confirmed when the given substance shows a positive test for Tollen’s test, but if the given compound passes 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine test.

Note: The appearance of a shiny silver mirror confirms the presence of aldehydes.

(f) Test with Chromic Acid:

Aldehydes react with chromic acid and gives a green to blue precipitate. Ketones do not react with chromic acid. Some of the primary and secondary alcohols also give this test but they do not give the dinitrophenylhydrazine test.

The chemical reaction is given below.

R-CHO + 2CrO3 + 3H2SO4 → 3R-C(O)-OH + 3H2O + Cr2(SO4)3(green colour)

Note: The appearance of green or blue colour precipitate confirms the presence of aldehydes.

(g) Sodium Nitroprusside Test:

Ketone responds to this test. Ketone reacts with alkali and forms an anion which further reacts with sodium nitroprusside and forms a coloured complex ion. Aldehydes do not respond to this test.

The chemical reaction is given below.

CH3COCH3 + OH→ CH3COCH2 + H2O

[Fe(CN)5NO]2- + CH3COCH2 → [Fe(CN)5NO.CH3COCH2]3-

Note: The appearance of red colouration shows the presence of ketone.

Materials Required:

  1. Schiff’s reagent
  2. Silver nitrate solution
  3. Fehling’s solutions A
  4. Fehling’s solutions B
  5. Dilute ammonium hydroxide solution
  6. 2,4-Dinitrophenylhydrazine reagent
  7. Chromic acid
  8. Sulphuric acid
  9. Sodium bisulphite
  10. Test tubes
  11. Test tube holder
  12. Beaker

Apparatus Setup:

Tests for Aldehydes and Ketones

Procedure for test of aldehydes and ketones:

(a) 2,4-Dinitrophenyl Hydrazine Test:

  1. Dissolve the given organic compound in ethanol.
  2. To this solution, add an alcoholic solution of 2,4-dinitrophenyl hydrazine.
  3. Shake the mixture well.
  4. If there is a formation of yellow to orange precipitate then the given compound is an aldehyde or ketone.
  5. An orange precipitate is obtained from carbonyl compounds in which the C=O groups are conjugated with C=C.

(b) Sodium Bisulphite Test:

  1. Take a saturated solution of sodium bisulphite in a clean test tube.
  2. Add 1ml of the given organic compound to be tested.
  3. Shake well and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
  4. If there is a formation of white precipitate, then the presence of the carbonyl group is confirmed.

(c) Schiff’s Test:

  1. Take the given organic compound to be tested in a clean test tube.
  2. Add 2-3 drops of Schiff’s reagent.
  3. If there is instant pink or red colour formation then the presence of aldehyde is confirmed.

(d) Fehling’s Test:

  1. Fehling’s solution is prepared by mixing equal amounts of Fehling’s A and Fehling’s B solution.
  2. Take the given organic compound in a clean test tube.
  3. Add Fehling’s solution to it and heat the solution gently.
  4. If a brick-red precipitate appears, then the presence of aldehyde is confirmed.

(e) Tollen’s Test: (Silver Mirror Test)

  1. Take 1ml of silver nitrate solution in a clean test tube.
  2. Add dilute sodium hydroxide solution to it, and a brown precipitate forms.
  3. Add dilute ammonia solution dropwise till the brown precipitate of silver oxide dissolves.
  4. To this freshly prepared Tollen’s reagent, add the given organic compound to be tested.
  5. Place the test tube in a warm water bath for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. If there is the appearance of a silver mirror on the sides of the test tube confirms the presence of an aldehyde.

(f) Test with Chromic Acid:

  1. Take the given organic compound in a clean test tube.
  2. Add 1ml of chromic acid reagent to the given organic compound.
  3. The appearance of a green or blue colour precipitate indicates the presence of aldehydes.

(g) Sodium Nitroprusside Test:

  1. Dissolve sodium nitroprusside in distilled water in a clean test tube.
  2. Add 1ml of the given organic compound to be tested.
  3. Shake well and add sodium hydroxide solution dropwise.
  4. If there is the appearance of red colour then the presence of ketone is confirmed.

Observations:

2,4-Dinitrophenyl Hydrazine Test The formation of orange-yellow crystals indicates the presence of the carbonyl group
Sodium Bisulphite Test The formation of crystalline precipitate confirms the carbonyl group.
Schiff’s Test The appearance of pink, red or magenta colour indicates the presence of the aldehyde group.
Fehling’s Test The appearance of red precipitate confirms the presence of an aldehydic group.
Tollen’s Test (Silver Mirror Test) The appearance of a shiny silver mirror confirms the presence of aldehydes.
Test with Chromic Acid The appearance of green or blue colour precipitate confirms the presence of aldehydes.
Sodium Nitroprusside Test The appearance of red colouration shows the presence of ketone.

Results and Discussion:

The given organic compound has ___________ (aldehyde/ketone) functional group.

Precautions:

  1. The reagents should be freshly prepared to perform the test.
  2. Not to heat the reaction mixture directly on the flame.
  3. After performing the Tollen’s test, wash the test tube with nitric acid to destroy the silver mirror, because it’s an explosive substance.

Keep visiting BYJU’S to learn more about class 12 CBSE chemistry practicals.

Frequently Asked Questions on Tests for Aldehydes and Ketones

Name any one test to distinguish aldehyde from ketone.

Tollens ‘ test is a qualitative laboratory test used to distinguish between an aldehyde and a ketone, also known as a silver-mirror test. It takes advantage of the fact that aldehydes are oxidized readily, while ketones are not.

What is Tollen’s reagent?

Tollens reagent is ammoniacal silver nitrate with the chemical formula [Ag(NH3)2]NO3.

What is the use of Schiff’s reagent?

Schiff’s reagent is used to distinguish aldehydes and ketones.

What is Fehling’s solution?

The solution of Fehling is prepared by combining two separate solutions, known as Fehling’s A and Fehling’s B. Fehling’s A is aqueous solution of deep blue copper(II) sulphate. Fehling’s B is a colourless solution of Potassium sodium tartrate (also known as Rochelle salt) made from strong alkali, commonly made from sodium hydroxide.

What is Rochelle’s salt?

Sodium potassium tartrate is called Rochelle’s salt.

Test Your Knowledge On Tests For Aldehydes And Ketones!

1 Comment

  1. Nice information

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