Benzoin (organic Compound)
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Benzoin Organic Compound
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
Desyl alcohol
Bitter almond oil camphor
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.003.938 Edit this at Wikidata
RTECS number
  • DI1590000
Molar mass  g·mol-1
Appearance Off-white crystals
Density 1.31 g/cm3
Melting point 134 to 138 °C (273 to 280 °F; 407 to 411 K)
Boiling point 344 °C (651 °F; 617 K)
Slightly soluble
Solubility in ethanol Slightly soluble
Solubility in alcohol Soluble
Solubility in ether Slightly soluble
Solubility in chlorine Soluble
P273, P501
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g. canola oilHealth code 1: Exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury. E.g. turpentineReactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g. liquid nitrogenSpecial hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
10.000 mg/kg
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Benzoin ( or ) is an organic compound with the formula PhCH(OH)C(O)Ph. It is a hydroxy ketone attached to two phenyl groups. It appears as off-white crystals, with a light camphor-like odor. Benzoin is synthesized from benzaldehyde in the benzoin condensation. It is chiral and it exists as a pair of enantiomers: (R)-benzoin and (S)-benzoin.

Benzoin is not a constituent of benzoin resin obtained from the benzoin tree (Styrax) or tincture of benzoin. The main component in these natural products is benzoic acid.


Benzoin was first reported in 1832 by Justus von Liebig and Friedrich Woehler during their research on oil of bitter almond, which is benzaldehyde with traces of hydrocyanic acid.[1] The catalytic synthesis by the benzoin condensation was improved by Nikolay Zinin during his time with Liebig.[2][3]


The main uses of benzoin are as a precursor to benzil, which is a photoinitiator.[4] The conversion proceeds by organic oxidation using copper(II),[5]nitric acid, or oxone. In one study, this reaction is carried out with atmospheric oxygen and basic alumina in dichloromethane.[6]

Benzoin can be used in the preparation of several pharmaceutical drugs including oxaprozin, ditazole, and phenytoin.[7]


Benzoin is prepared from benzaldehyde via the benzoin condensation.[8]


  1. ^ Wöhler, Liebig; Liebig (1832). "Untersuchungen über das Radikal der Benzoesäure". Annalen der Pharmacie. 3 (3): 249-282. doi:10.1002/jlac.18320030302. hdl:2027/hvd.hxdg3f.
  2. ^ N. Zinin (1839). "Beiträge zur Kenntniss einiger Verbindungen aus der Benzoylreihe". Annalen der Pharmacie. 31 (3): 329-332. doi:10.1002/jlac.18390310312.
  3. ^ N. Zinin (1840). "Ueber einige Zersetzungsprodukte des Bittermandelöls". Annalen der Pharmacie. 34 (2): 186-192. doi:10.1002/jlac.18400340205.
  4. ^ Hardo Siegel, Manfred Eggersdorfer "Ketones" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry Wiley-VCH, 2002 by Wiley-VCH, Wienheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a15_077
  5. ^ Clarke, H. T.; Dreger.E. E. (1941). "Benzil". Organic Syntheses.; Collective Volume, 1, p. 87
  6. ^ Konstantinos Skobridis; Vassiliki Theodorou; Edwin Weber (2006). "A very simple and chemoselective air oxidation of benzoins to benzils using alumina". Arkivoc. 06-1798JP: 102-106.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ U.S. Patent 2,242,775
  8. ^ Clarke, H. T.; Dreger.E. E. (1941). "Benzil". Organic Syntheses.; Collective Volume, 1, p. 87

External links

  • Benzoin synthesis, Organic Syntheses, Coll. Vol. 1, p. 94 (1941); Vol. 1, p. 33 (1921)

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