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benzoic acid

benzoic acid A preservative normally used as the sodium, potassium, or calcium salts and their derivatives, especially in acid foods such as pickles and sauces. It occurs naturally in a number of fruits, including cranberries, prunes, greengages, and cloudberries, and in cinnamon. Cloudberries contain so much benzoic acid that they can be stored for long periods of time without bacterial or fungal spoilage. Benzoic acid and its derivatives are excreted from the body conjugated with the amino acids glycine (hippuric acid) and alanine. Because of this, benzoic acid is sometimes used in the treatment of argininaemia, argininosuccinic aciduria, and citrullinaemia, permitting excretion of nitrogenous waste from the body as these conjugates.

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benzoic acid

benzoic acid (bĕnzō´Ĭk), C6H5CO2H, crystalline solid organic acid that melts at 122°C and boils at 249°C. It is the simplest aromatic carboxylic acid (see aryl group and carboxyl group). In addition to being synthesized from a variety of organic compounds (e.g., benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, toluene, and phthalic acid), it may be obtained from resins, notably gum benzoin. It is used largely for making its salts and esters, most notably sodium benzoate, which is widely used as a preservative in foods and beverages and as a mild antiseptic in mouthwashes and toothpastes.

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benzoic acid

benzoic acid (ben-zoh-ik) n. an antiseptic used as a preservative and (combined with salicylic acid) in an ointment to treat ringworm.

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