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Benzoic Acid vs. Benzaldehyde: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 9, 2024
Benzoic acid is a carboxylic acid with a formula C6H5COOH, used as a food preservative, while benzaldehyde is an aromatic aldehyde, C6H5CHO, used as a flavoring agent.

Key Differences

Benzoic acid, with the chemical formula C6H5COOH, features a carboxyl group attached to a benzene ring. Benzaldehyde, denoted as C6H5CHO, contains an aldehyde group attached to a benzene ring. Their different functional groups lead to different chemical properties.
Benzoic acid is widely used as a food preservative due to its antimicrobial properties. Benzaldehyde is primarily used in the synthesis of other organic compounds and as a flavoring agent due to its almond-like aroma.
Benzoic acid is a colorless crystalline solid and is slightly soluble in water. Benzaldehyde is a colorless liquid at room temperature and is moderately soluble in water.
Benzoic acid can be produced by the oxidation of toluene or from benzotrichloride. Benzaldehyde is commonly produced by the oxidation of toluene or by treating benzal chloride with water.
Both benzoic acid and benzaldehyde should be handled with care, but benzoic acid requires more cautious handling due to its acidic nature. Benzaldehyde is relatively less hazardous but can be irritating to the skin and eyes.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula


Functional Group

Carboxylic Acid

Common Use

Food preservative
Flavoring agent

Physical State

Colorless crystalline solid
Colorless liquid

Production Method

Oxidation of toluene, benzotrichloride
Oxidation of toluene, benzal chloride with water

Benzoic Acid and Benzaldehyde Definitions

Benzoic Acid

An aromatic carboxylic acid used in medicine and industry.
Benzoic acid is a component in topical creams for skin irritations.


A colorless liquid used in the synthesis of other organic compounds.
Benzaldehyde is a starting material in the synthesis of certain dyes.

Benzoic Acid

A compound used in the manufacture of various other chemicals.
Benzoic acid is a precursor in the synthesis of benzoyl chloride.


An organic compound with a distinct almond-like aroma.
Benzaldehyde is used to impart almond flavor in food products.

Benzoic Acid

A weak acid commonly used as a food preservative.
Benzoic acid is added to carbonated drinks to extend shelf life.


A compound used as a precursor in organic reactions.
Benzaldehyde reacts with acetone in the synthesis of certain pharmaceuticals.

Benzoic Acid

An organic compound obtained from the oxidation of toluene.
Benzoic acid is commercially produced through the oxidation process of toluene.


A substance derived from the oxidation of toluene.
Benzaldehyde can be industrially produced by the oxidation of toluene.

Benzoic Acid

A colorless crystalline solid with antifungal properties.
Benzoic acid is used as a preservative in acidic foods like pickles.


An aromatic aldehyde used in the flavor and fragrance industry.
Benzaldehyde is a key ingredient in certain perfume formulations.


A colorless oily aromatic aldehyde, C7H6O, obtained naturally, as from the bitter almond, or made synthetically and used in perfumes and as a solvent and a flavoring.


A chemical compound (C6H5CHO) consisting of a benzene ring with an aldehyde substituent.


(countable) Any of various derivatives of benzaldehyde.
Benzaldehydes with polar substituents


Is benzoic acid safe for consumption?

In regulated amounts, benzoic acid is safe as a food preservative.

Can benzaldehyde be found in nature?

Yes, benzaldehyde is naturally present in certain plants like almonds.

Is benzaldehyde toxic?

In high concentrations, benzaldehyde can be toxic and irritating.

Can benzaldehyde be used in the pharmaceutical industry?

Yes, it's used as a precursor in the synthesis of certain drugs.

Is benzoic acid naturally occurring?

Yes, benzoic acid is found in some fruits and spices.

Can benzoic acid be used in cosmetics?

Yes, it's used in some cosmetic products for its antimicrobial properties.

How is benzoic acid produced industrially?

It's typically produced by the oxidation of toluene.

What is the primary use of benzaldehyde?

It is mainly used as a flavoring agent and in organic synthesis.

What are the environmental effects of benzoic acid?

Benzoic acid is generally considered environmentally safe in regulated quantities.

How is benzaldehyde commonly synthesized?

It's often synthesized by the oxidation of toluene or from benzal chloride and water.

What is the shelf life of benzoic acid?

When stored properly, benzoic acid has a long shelf life.

Can benzoic acid cause allergies?

In some individuals, benzoic acid can cause skin irritation or allergies.

Is benzoic acid soluble in water?

Benzoic acid is slightly soluble in water.

What precautions should be taken when handling benzaldehyde?

It should be handled with care to avoid skin and eye irritation.

Is benzaldehyde used in any household products?

Yes, it's used in some flavoring agents and fragrances.

How does benzoic acid affect pH levels?

As an acid, it can lower the pH of the products it's added to.

Can benzoic acid be used as a preservative in all foods?

It's most effective in acidic foods and less effective in alkaline conditions.

Is benzaldehyde found in almond extract?

Yes, benzaldehyde is a key component of artificial almond extract.

Does benzaldehyde have a strong odor?

Yes, it has a strong, almond-like odor.

Can benzaldehyde be used in beverages?

It is used in flavoring certain beverages in regulated amounts.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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