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Esters are a group of organic compounds with a general formula R1CO2R2 (where R1 and R2 are alkyl groups) that are formed, along with water, by the reaction of acids and alcohols. Natural occurring esters of organic acids in fruits and flowers give them their distinctive odors. It also also used for food aroma and taste, perfumes, synthetic fibres, and solvents.

To name esters,

  1. Identify the alkyl group that is attached to the oxygen atom

  2. Number according to the end closest to the -CO- group regardless of where alkyl substituents are.

  3. Determine the alkane that links the carbon atoms together. If there is a separation of a continuous link of carbon atoms due to the oxygen atom, individually name the two alkanes before and after the oxygen atom. The longer structural alkane is the one that should contain the carbonyl atom.

  4. The format is as follows: (alkane further from carbonyl) (alkane closest to carbony)(parent chain)

  5. Change the parent chain -e ending and replace it with an -oate.


        octyl ethanoate