Difference Between Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid

Key Difference – Pyruvate vs Pyruvic Acid
 

The terms Pyruvate and Pyruvic acid are frequently used interchangeably; however, there is a distinct difference between them: Pyruvic acid is an acid, which indicates that it can release a hydrogen ion and bind with a positively charged sodium or potassium ion in order to form an acid salt, also known as pyruvate. In other words, pyruvate is a salt or ester of pyruvic acid. This is the key difference between pyruvate and pyruvic acid and both substances are utilized in biological and metabolic pathways, yet are closely interconnected.

What is Pyruvic Acid?

Pyruvic acid plays a significant role in the human metabolism. For example, energy is provided to living cells by cellular aerobic respiration or pyruvic acid is fermented to produce lactic acid through fermentation. Pyruvic acid is a liquid in nature, and it is colorless and has a smell similar to acetic acid. It is a weak acid, and it is dissolved in water. The chemical formula of pyruvic acid is (CH3COCOOH), and it is considered as the simplest form of the alpha-keto acids  with a carboxylic acid and a ketone functional group. In addition to that, pyruvic acid is a carboxylic acid which is not as strong as inorganic acids like hydrochloric acid.Difference Between Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid

What is Pyruvate?

Pyruvate is the conjugate base of pyruvic acid and its chemical formula is CH3COCOO.  In other words, pyruvate is the anion produced from pyruvic acid. The key difference between pyruvic acid and pyruvate is that the hydrogen atom on the carboxylic acid group has disassociated, or it has been removed. This provides a negatively charged carboxylate group to the pyruvate. Due to the weak acidity nature of pyruvic acid, it easily dissociates in water and thereby forming pyruvate. Pyruvate is an important chemical compound in human metabolism and biochemistry. Pyruvate is involved in the metabolism of glucose and is also known as glycolysis. In the glycolysis process, one molecule of glucose is broken down into two molecules of pyruvate, which are then utilized in further reactions to produce energy.

What is the difference between Pyruvate and Pyruvic acid?

Pyruvate and pyruvic acid may have substantially different chemical effects and some functional properties. These differences are discussed here.

Definition of Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid is a yellowish colour organic acid.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate is a salt or ester of pyruvic acid.

Characteristics of Pyruvate and Pyruvic Acid

Chemical Formula and Molecular Structure

Pyruvic acid : CH3COCOOHacid

 

 Pyruvate: CH3COCOO

salt

 

 

Proton and Electron Balance

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid has the same number of electrons as protons.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate has more electrons than protons.

Synthesis

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid can be synthesized from lactic acid.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate is the anion synthesized from pyruvic acid. When pyruvic acid is dissolved in water, it tends to dissociate and synthesise a pyruvate ion and a proton.

Acidity

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid is a weak organic acid.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate is the conjugate base of pyruvic acid.

Carboxylic Functional Group

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid has carboxylic acid (COOH) functional group.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate is called a carboxylate anion containing COO-.

Charge

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid has a neutral charge.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate has a negative charge.

Ability to give a Proton

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid has the ability to give up a proton.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate cannot give up a proton.

Dominant Form

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid is the less dominant form in a cellular environment compared to pyruvate.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate is the more dominant form in a cellular environment compared to pyruvic acid.

Intra-molecular Hydrogen Bond

Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic acid has an intra-molecular hydrogen bond.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate does not have an intra-molecular hydrogen bond.

 

References:

Cody, G. D., Boctor, N. Z., Filley, T. R., Hazen, R. M., Scott, J. H., Sharma, A. and Yoder, H. S. (2000). Primordial Carbonylated Iron-Sulfur Compounds and the Synthesis of Pyruvate. Science, 289 (5483): 1337–1340.

Image Courtesy:”Pyruvic-acid-3D-balls”. (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons.