Chemistry

Difference Between Acyl and Acetyl

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Main Difference

The main difference between Acyl and Acetyl is that Acyl is sometimes may or may not consist of –CH3 group, whereas Acetyl most importantly consists of –CH3 group.

Acyl vs. Acetyl

The acyl group is known as a functional group that contains the chemical formula of –C(O)R; on the other hand, acetyl is also referred to as a functional group but having the chemical formula –C(O)R. An acyl group may or may not contain a methyl group attached to its structure; on the contrary, an acetyl group most importantly contains a methyl group attached to its structure.

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Molecules that consist of an acyl group can go through acylation. On the flip side, the molecules which specifically contain acetyl groups can go through acetylation. The acyl contains two distinct components, the carbonyl group, and an alkyl group. In contrast, the acetyl, on the other hand, contains the same carbonyl group as acyl, but the alkyl group replaced by methyl.

The example of acyl is acyl chloride in which it consists of a carbonyl group (C=O), a chlorine group (Cl), and an R group. In contrast, the example of acetyl on the flip side is acetyl chlorine in which it consists of a carbonyl group (C=O), a chlorine group (Cl), and a methyl group.

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Comparison Chart

AcylAcetyl
A group that is formed by the removal of one or more than one hydroxyl group from an oxoacid also having inorganic acids is known as acylAcetyl is known as the univalent radical, which derived from acetic acid
Introduction
Known as a functional group which contains the chemical formula of –C(O)RAlso referred to as a functional group but having the chemical formula –C(O)R
Presence of Methyl Group
May or may not contain methyl group attached with its structureMost importantly contains a methyl group attached with its structure
Chemical Reactions
Molecules that consist of acyl group can go through acylationThe molecules which specifically contains acetyl groups mostly go through acetylation
Structural Components
Contains two distinct components: Carbonyl group and an alkyl groupContains the same carbonyl group as acyl, but the alkyl group is replaced by methyl
Example
The example is acyl chloride in which it consists of a carbonyl group (C=O), a chlorine group (Cl), and an R groupThe example is acetyl chlorine in which it consists of a carbonyl group (C=O), a chlorine group (Cl), and a methyl group
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What is Acyl?

An acyl is considered as a functional group containing the chemical structure –C(O)R and formed from an oxoacid. The R group in acyl is known as the alkyl group, which is joined with the carbon atom through a single bond, and the oxygen in the acyl group is joined with the carbon atom through a double bond-forming the carbonyl group.

The acyl group experiences one of the major reaction acylations. The acylation reaction is the overview of an acyl group into the different molecules. The following example can show the acylation of benzene. Here, the group “X” is known as a leaving group, which many times is a halogen atom.

The acyl group in the upper example attached with the benzene ring by replacing the hydrogen atom present in the benzene ring. This whole reaction is known as the electrophilic substitution reaction because the “X” group of the acyl leaves and giving a positive charge to the central carbon atom of the acyl group. That’s why the acyl group also acts as the electrophile. After that, the acyl replaces the hydrogen atom of the benzene ring, which is known as substitution.

The acyl group also undergoes the nucleophilic substitution reaction, which is the replacement of the leaving group of the molecules containing the acyl group through a nucleophile. This could be explained by the example in which a molecule having an acyl group joined with a halogen usually undergo substitution reactions. In this, the halogen gets replaced with a nucleophile, for instance, amine. After that, the result will be an amide, and the by-product would be halide.

The acyl group can be identified in the laboratories when acyl chlorides hydrolyze in water and provide precipitates with aqueous silver nitrate. The examples of molecules containing the acyl group are Acyl chlorides (Ex: Benzoyl chloride), Aldehydes (Ex: Propionaldehyde), and Amides (Ex: Benzamide).

What is Acetyl?

Acetyl is considered as a functional group having the structural formula –C(O)CH3. The acetyl group specifically contains the methyl group, and its structural formula indicates that the acetyl group is the derivative of the acyl group.

The methyl group –CH­3 in the acetyl group attached with the carbon atom and the oxygen atom joined with the carbon atom through the double bond. The acetyl group undergoes the reaction of acetylation. Acetylation is known as the introduction of an acetyl group into a different molecule.

The following example explains the acetylation of 2-bromosorcinal. In this particular example, the hydrogen atom of the benzene ring is replaced by the acetyl group. The –OH group is the leaving group of the molecule having the acetyl group. Hence, the H2O molecule would be the byproduct of this reaction. The opposite reaction of acetylation is deacetylation.

The acetylation is widely used in pharmacology as acetylated organic molecules show the capability to cross the selectively permeable barrier between blood and brain. It aids the given drug to reach the brain more quickly and effectively. Also, it increases the effects of drugs more intense and increasing the efficiency of a given dose.

The resveratrol acetylation is widely and, most importantly, used as one of the first anti-radiation medicine for the use of human purposes. Examples for molecules having the acetyl group are Aldehydes (Ex: Acetaldehyde), Carboxylic acids (Ex: Acetic acid), Acyl chlorides (Ex: Acetyl chloride), Esters (Ex: Methyl acetate), and Amides (Ex: Acetamide).

Key Differences

  1. An acyl is a functional group which is formed by the removal of one or more hydroxyl groups; on the other hand, an acetyl is also a functional group which is known as the univalent radical resultant from the acetic acid.
  2. The structural formula of acyl is –C(O)R; on the contrary, the chemical formula of acetyl is –C(O)R.
  3. A methyl group –CH3 may or sometimes may not present in acyl; on the flip side, a methyl group –CH3 is always present in its structure.
  4. The acyl group molecules usually go through the acylation process, whereas on the other hand, the acetyl group molecules normally undergo the acetylation process.
  5. The two distinct components: the carbonyl group and an alkyl group is typically present in acyl group; on the flip side, the two distinct components also present in acetyl: the carbonyl group and the methyl group which is normally replaced by the alkyl group.
  6. The acyl chloride is the example of acyl, which contains a carboxyl group C=O, a chlorine group Cl and an alkyl group R; on the contrary, the acetyl chloride is the example of acetyl which contains a carboxyl group C=O, a chlorine group Cl, and a methyl group CH3.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that acyl and acetyl are derivatives of carboxylic acids. The difference present between acyl and acetyl is in their composition in which acyl usually does not contain a methyl group (-CH3), while acetyl specifically contains a methyl group in its structure.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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