Definition of propionic acid in English:

propionic acid


mass nounChemistry
  • A colourless pungent liquid organic acid produced in some forms of fermentation and used for inhibiting the growth of mould in bread.

    Alternative name: propanoic acid; chemical formula: C₂H₅COOH

    • ‘Two other simple carboxylic acids are propionic acid and butyric acid.’
    • ‘Each population cage contained two standard 240-ml food bottles, each containing 50 ml of standard fly medium containing sucrose, corn meal, yeast, agar, benzoic acid, methyl paraben, and propionic acid.’
    • ‘Such breads are almost always chock full of preservatives like sorbic acid and propionic acid, which help to ward off mold.’
    • ‘Ovaries were gently pressed with a coverslip in 50% propionic acid, dipped in liquid nitrogen, and sequentially dehydrated in 50%, 70%, 95%, and 100% ethanol.’
    • ‘Odors used included amyl acetate, which smells like bananas; phenyl ethyl alcohol, which smells like roses; propionic acid, which smells like vinegar; eugenol, which smells like cloves; and citral, which smells lemony.’


Mid 19th century propionic from French propionique, from Greek pro ‘before’ + piōn ‘fat’, it being the first member of the fatty acid series to form fats.


propionic acid