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Not to be confused with Benzoin resin.
IUPAC name
Other names
2-hydroxy-2-phenylacetophenone, 2-hydroxy-1,2-diphenylethanone, desyl alcohol, bitter almond oil camphor
119-53-9 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:17682 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL190677 YesY
ChemSpider 8093 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image
KEGG C01408 YesY
PubChem 8400
Molar mass 212.25 g·mol−1
Appearance off-white crystals
Density 1.31 g/cm3
Melting point 132 to 137 °C (270 to 279 °F; 405 to 410 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
NFPA 704
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g., canola oil Health code 2: Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury. E.g., chloroform Reactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogen Special hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
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 (/ˈbɛnz.ɨn/ or /-ɔɪn/) 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 is prepared from benzaldehyde via the benzoin condensation. [7]


  1. ^ Wöhler, Liebig; Liebig (1832). "Untersuchungen über das Radikal der Benzoesäure". Annalen der Pharmacie 3 (3): 249–282. doi:10.1002/jlac.18320030302. 
  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". Org. Synth. ; Coll. Vol. 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. 
  7. ^ Clarke, H. T.; Dreger.E. E. (1941). "Benzil". Org. Synth. ; Coll. Vol. 1, p. 87 

External links[edit]

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