Succinic Acid Structure: Detailed Explanations

Succinic acid also named as amber acid, butanedioic acid and 1, 2-ethanedicarboxylic acid.

Basic succinic acid structure and its molecular formula is C4H6O4, it is a dicarboxylic acid having molecular weight 118.09 g/mol. Butanedioic acid is its IUPAC name. Succinic acid was first formed as an Amber distillation product. Amber is notorious for its colour and beauty which is a fossilized tree resin.

Basic Succinic acid structures are as follows:

Georgius Agricola is a person who first refined succinic acid from amber. Traditionally succinic acid was produced by petrochemical technology. Succinic acid is a colourless water soluble crystalline solid. Succinic acid has a vital role in intermediary metabolism of all plants and animal tissues. Succinic acid name formed from the name of Amber whose Latin name is Succinum.

From the above structure the succinic acid structure is consists of two carboxylic groups attached with two carbon atoms. The first and basic method of synthesis of succinic acid is the catalytic hydrogenation of maleic acid or its anhydride, afterword’s various methods being investigated and used for the synthesis of succinic acid.

There are various techniques for the analysis and characterization of structure succinic acid or any other acid like Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, Scanning electron spectroscopy, etc. which confirms the structure of any compound.

From the FTIR spectra, it confirms the presence of functional group i.e. CH2 and COOH confirms by the presence of the FTIR peaks like 1720 peaks shows C=O stretch of COOH group, 1396 peak shows the symmetric stretch of COO, 1552 peak shows anti-symmetric stretch of COO, 1901, 1722 and 1728 peaks shows C=O stretching, 1564 and 1570 peaks shows anti-symmetric stretch of COO group, 2650 peak shows O-H stretching and 2932 peak shows C-H stretching. All this functional groups from FTIR spectra of succinic acid confirms the succinic acid structure.

Succinic acid is a good natural antibiotic due to its caustic or acidic nature but even its more concentration cause’s burns. Succinic acid plays a vital role in Krebs cycle i.e. citric acid cycle and works as an electron donor to produce FADH2 and fumaric acid.

Succinates can active the degradation of acetaldehyde which is a toxic alcoholic metabolism by-product into H2O and CO2 by aerobic metabolism and helps to reduce the hangover effect. Succinic acid also helps to encourage neural system recovery and encourage the immune system. It also claims that it can enhance cognizance, impulses and concentration.

Drug interaction capacities of succinic acid shows that, the excretion of succinic acid can be decreased when combine with acetyl salicylic acid, benzoic acid, bumetanide, aminohipporic acid, benzyl penicillin, baricitinib, acyclovir, etc.

Methods of synthesis of succinic acid

From Maleic acid (reduction)

Succinic acid preparation from maleic acid

Maleic acid when reduced in presence of nickel and heat succinic acid is formed.

Here, in this reaction the pi-double bond of maleic acid gets break as the reduction done and as the hydrogen atom gets attached to two carbon atoms of maleic acid, succinic acid gets formed with the single covalent bond between two carbon atoms of succinic acid.

From di-bromo ethane

Succinic acid preparation from di-bromo ethane

In this method, 1, 2 di-bromo ethane is treated with two molecules of sodium cyanide, then two molecules of sodium bromide gets removed forming 1, 2-dicyano ethane. Then 1, 2-dicyano ethane on hydrolysis gives succinic acid with the release of two molecules of ammonia as a by-product.

From Tartaric acid (Reduction with H-I/ Red P/ 2000 C)

Succinic acid preparation from tartaric acid

In the above method, tartaric acid reduced with hydrogen iodide in presence of red phosphorous with heating at 2000 C forms succinic acid.

Physical properties of succinic acid

  1. Succinic acid is a colourless/ white or shiny crystalline solid.
  2. It is odourless.
  3. It is very acidic in taste.
  4. It is soluble in water, ethanol, acetone, ethyl ether and methanol and slightly soluble in deuterated dimethyl formamide,
  5. It is insoluble in benzene and toluene, practically insoluble in petroleum ether, carbon tetrachloride and carbon disulphide.

Chemical properties of succinic acid

Reaction with (NaHCO3) sodium bi-carbonate

CR1 2
Formation of sodium succinate

Succinic acid when treated with two molecules of sodium bi-carbonate, sodium succinate is obtained with two water molecules and two carbon di-oxide molecules as by-product.

Reaction with ethyl alcohol

CR2 1
Formation of di-ethyl succinic acid

Succinic acid when reacts with two molecules of ethyl alcohol, di-ethyl succinic acid is formed with the removal of two water molecules.

Reaction with PCl5 (phosphorous pentachloride)

CR3 1
Formation of succinic chloride

Succinic acid when heated with phosphorous penta-chloride, succinic chloride is formed with the release of phosphorous tri-chloride and two hydrochloride molecules.

Reaction with ammonia at low temperature

CR4 1
Formation of succinic amine

Succinic acid on treatment with ammonia, heating at low temperature forms succinic amines.

Reaction with ammonia at high temperature

CR5 1
Formation of succinic amide

Succinic acid on heating with ammonia at high temperature obtained succinic amide with the release of ammonia gas.

Reaction with sodalime (NaOH+CaO)

Formation of propionic acid

Succinic acid on heating with sodalime (NaOH + CaO) forms propionic acid with the evolution of carbon dioxide gas.

Other properties of succinic acid

  • Boiling point of succinic acid is 2350 C
  • Melting point of succinic acid is 1880 C
  • Solubility of succinic acid is 5 to 10 mg/ml at 760 F
  • Density of succinic acid is 1.572
  • It is non-hygroscopic in nature.
  • Succinic acid on heating to decomposition emits acrid smoke and fumes.

Uses of succinic acid

Succinic acid has various uses in various fields like agriculture, manufacturing, drug compounds and food production. Also succinic acid has a budding platform as a chemical to yield various high value-added products such as surfactants, pharmaceutical products, plastics, detergents, and ingredients to stimulate the growth of plants and animal.