Methyl benzoate

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Methyl benzoate
Methyl benzoate
3D model of methyl benzoate
IUPAC name
Methyl benzoate
93-58-3 YesY
ChemSpider 6883 YesY
Jmol interactive 3D Image
PubChem 7150
UNII 6618K1VJ9T YesY
Molar mass 136.15 g·mol−1
Density 1.0837 g/cm3
Melting point −12.5 °C (9.5 °F; 260.6 K)
Boiling point 199.6 °C (391.3 °F; 472.8 K)
Safety data sheet ScienceLab MSDS
NFPA 704
Flammability code 2: Must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperature before ignition can occur. Flash point between 38 and 93 °C (100 and 200 °F). E.g., diesel fuel Health code 0: Exposure under fire conditions would offer no hazard beyond that of ordinary combustible material. E.g., sodium chloride 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
Flash point 82 °C (180 °F; 355 K)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Ethyl benzoate
Propyl benzoate
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

Methyl benzoate is an organic compound. It is an ester with the chemical formula C6H5CO2CH3. It is a colorless liquid that is poorly soluble in water, but miscible with organic solvents. Methyl benzoate has a pleasant smell, strongly reminiscent of the fruit of the feijoa tree, and it is used in perfumery. It also finds use as a solvent and as a pesticide used to attract insects such as orchid bees.

Synthesis and reactions[edit]

Methylbenzoate is formed by the condensation of methanol and benzoic acid, in presence of a strong acid such as hydrochloric acid.[1] It reacts both at the ring and the ester. Illustrative of its ability to undergo electrophilic substitution, methyl benzoate undergoes acid-catalysed nitration with nitric acid to give methyl 3-nitrobenzoate. It also undergoes hydrolysis with addition of aqueous NaOH to give methanol and sodium benzoate, which can be acidified with aqueous HCl to form benzoic acid.


Methyl benzoate can be isolated from the freshwater fern Salvinia molesta.[2] It is one of many compounds that is attractive to males of various species of orchid bees, which apparently gather the chemical to synthesize pheromones; it is commonly used as bait to attract and collect these bees for study.[3]

Cocaine hydrochloride hydrolyzes in moist air to give methyl benzoate;[4] drug-sniffing dogs are thus trained to detect the smell of methyl benzoate.[5]


  1. ^ John McMurry (2008). Organic Chemistry, 7th Edition. Thompson - Brooks/Cole. ISBN 1-4390-4972-6. . Page 623
  2. ^ Choudhary, MI; Naheed, N; Abbaskhan, A; Musharraf, SG; Siddiqui, H; Atta-Ur-Rahman (2008). "Phenolic and other constituents of fresh water fern Salvinia molesta". Phytochemistry 69 (4): 1018–23. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.10.028. PMID 18177906. 
  3. ^ Schiestl, F.P.; Roubik, D.W. (2003). "Odor Compound Detection in Male Euglossine Bees". Journal of Chemical Ecology 29 (1): 253–257. doi:10.1023/A:1021932131526. PMID 12647866. 
  4. ^ Dejarme, Lindy E.; Gooding, Rachel E.; Lawhon, Sara J.; Ray, Prasenjit; Kuhlman, Michael R. (1997). Works, George; Rudin, Leonid I; Hicks, John; et al., eds. "Proceedings of SPIE". SPIE Proceedings 2937. p. 19. doi:10.1117/12.266783.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  5. ^ Waggoner, L. Paul; Johnston, James M.; Williams, Marc; Jackson, Jan; Jones, Meredith H.; Boussom, Teresa; Petrousky, James A. (1997). Works, George; Rudin, Leonid I; Hicks, John; et al., eds. "Proceedings of SPIE". SPIE Proceedings 2937. p. 216. doi:10.1117/12.266775.  |chapter= ignored (help)