Main Difference – Pyruvate vs Pyruvic Acid
The terms pyruvate and pyruvic acid can be used interchangeably since pyruvate is the conjugate base of pyruvic acid. But they are different from each other in several ways. The functional groups present in pyruvic acid are a ketone group and a carboxylic group. In pyruvate, the carboxylic group lacks a hydrogen atom while the rest of the molecule is similar to the structure of pyruvic acid. Therefore pyruvate contains a carboxylate group, and pyruvic acid contains carboxylic group. The main difference between pyruvate and pyruvic acid is that pyruvate is an anion whereas pyruvic acid is a neutral molecule.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Pyruvate
– Definition, Chemical Properties
2. What is Pyruvic Acid
– Definition, Chemical Properties
3. What is the Difference Between Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid
– Comparison of Key Differences
Key Terms: Anion, Carboxylic Group, Ketone Group, Pyruvate, Pyruvic Acid
What is Pyruvate
Pyruvate is the conjugated base of pyruvic acid. It is formed by releasing the hydrogen atom (H) of the carboxylic acid group (-COOH). Therefore, pyruvate is an anion. The general formula of pyruvate is C3H3O3– and the molar mass of this compound is 87.054 g/mol. The IUPAC name for pyruvate is 2-oxopropanoate.
The hydrogen atom of the carboxylic group of pyruvic acid has dissociated or released to form pyruvate. This release results in a negative charge on the oxygen atom to which the hydrogen was previously bonded with.
Pyruvate is an intermediate formed during the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is the end product of glycolysis where glucose is converted into pyruvate. But pyruvate is considered as an intermediate since it is converted into acetyl CoA after the formation of pyruvate from glycolysis and enters the Krebs cycle to yield ATP.
What is Pyruvic Acid
Pyruvic acid is an organic acid that plays a significant role in human metabolism. The chemical formula of pyruvic acid is C3H4O3, and the molar mass of this acid is 88.06 g/mol. The IUPAC name of pyruvic acid is 2-Oxopropanoic acid.
Pyruvic acid has two functional groups: a ketone group and a carboxylic group. This compound is a liquid at room temperature and pressure. The melting point of pyruvic acid is 13.8 °C, and the boiling point is 54 °C. The dissociation or the release of the hydrogen atom from carboxylic group of the pyruvic acid forms pyruvate anion.
Pyruvic acid is a colorless liquid and has a smell that is similar to acetic acid (the smell of vinegar). Since pyruvic acid molecules are capable of forming hydrogen bonds with water molecules, this liquid is miscible with water.
Pyruvic acid is produced in glycolysis in the form of pyruvate. Pyruvic acid is converted to pyruvate, the conjugated base of pyruvic acid, at pH levels of the human body. Pyruvic acid can be converted back into carbohydrates via gluconeogenesis. Therefore, pyruvic acid is a key component of many important biochemical pathways.
Difference Between Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid
Pyruvate: Pyruvate is the conjugated base of the pyruvic acid.
Pyruvic Acid: Pyruvic acid is an organic acid that plays a significant role in human metabolism.
Pyruvate: The chemical formula of pyruvate is C3H3O3–.
Pyruvic Acid: The chemical formula of pyruvic acid is C3H4O3.
Pyruvate: The molar mass of pyruvate is 87.054 g/mol.
Pyruvic Acid: The molar mass of pyruvic acid is 88.06 g/mol.
Number of Hydrogen Atoms
Pyruvate: Pyruvate has 3 hydrogen atoms.
Pyruvic Acid: Pyruvic acid has 4 hydrogen atoms.
Nature of Compound
Pyruvate: Pyruvate is an anion.
Pyruvic Acid: Pyruvic acid is an organic acid.
Pyruvate: Pyruvate has a negative charge.
Pyruvic Acid: Pyruvic acid is neutrally charged.
Proton Releasing Ability
Pyruvate: Pyruvate cannot release protons.
Pyruvic Acid: Pyruvic acid can release a proton.
Pyruvate: Pyruvate is more stable at pH value of human body.
Pyruvic Acid: Pyruvic acid is less stable at pH value of human body and tends to get converted into pyruvate.
Pyruvate is the conjugated base of pyruvic acid. Pyruvate is formed when pyruvic acid loses a hydrogen atom. But, both terms are used interchangeably. Pyruvic acid at pH of the human body in the form of pyruvate. The main difference between pyruvate and pyruvic acid is that pyruvate is an anion whereas pyruvic acid is a neutral molecule.
1. “Pyruvate.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, .
2. “Pyruvic acid.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Dec. 2017, .
3. “The latest developments in biological science.” Biology Online Blog, .
1. “Pyruvic acid” By Lukáš Mižoch – Own work (Public Domain) via