AskDefine | Define pyridine

Dictionary Definition

pyridine n : a toxic colorless flammable liquid organic base with a disagreeable odor; usually derived from coal

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of a class of aromatic heterocyclic compounds containing a ring of five carbon atoms and an nitrogen atom; especially the simplest one, C5H5N.

Extensive Definition

Pyridine is a chemical compound with the formula C5H5N. It is a liquid with a distinctively putrid, fishy odour. Pyridine is a simple and fundamentally important heterocyclic aromatic organic compound. It is structurally related to benzene, wherein one CH group in the six-membered ring is replaced by a nitrogen atom. The pyridine ring occurs in many important compounds, including the nicotinamides. Pyridine is sometimes used as a ligand in coordination chemistry. As a ligand, it is usually abbreviated "py".


The nitrogen atom on pyridine features a basic lone pair of electrons. Because this lone pair is not delocalized into the aromatic pi-system, pyridine is basic with chemical properties similar to tertiary amines. The pKa of the conjugate acid is 5.21. Pyridine is protonated by reaction with acids and forms a positively charged aromatic polyatomic ion called pyridinium cation. The bond lengths and bond angles in pyridine and the pyridinium ion are almost identical because protonation does not disrupt the aromatic pi system.

Pyridine as a solvent

Pyridine is a widely used and versatile solvent: it is polar but aprotic. It is miscible with a broad range of solvents including hexane and water. Deuterated pyridine, called pyridine-d5, is a common solvent for1H NMR spectroscopy.

Role in chemical synthesis

Pyridine is important in industrial chemistry, both as a fundamental building block and as a solvent and reagent in organic synthesis. It is used as a solvent in Knoevenagel condensations.
It is also a starting material in the synthesis of compounds used as an intermediate in making insecticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, food flavorings, dyes, rubber chemicals, adhesives, paints, explosives and disinfectants. Pyridine is also used as a denaturant for antifreeze mixtures, for ethyl alcohol, for fungicides, and as a dyeing aid for textiles.

Preparation and occurrence

Many methods exist in industry and in the laboratory (some of them named reactions) for the synthesis of pyridine and its derivatives: Pyridine was originally isolated industrially from crude coal tar. It is currently synthesized from acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and ammonia, a process that involves the intermediacy of acrolein:
CH2O + NH3 + 2 CH3CHO → C5H5N + 3 H2O
By substituting other aldehydes for acetaldehyde, one obtains alkyl and aryl substituted pyridines. 26,000 tons were produced worldwide in 1989.

Organic reactions

In organic reactions pyridine behaves both as a tertiary amine, undergoing protonation, alkylation, acylation, and N-oxidation at nitrogen, and as an aromatic compound, undergoing Nucleophilic substitutions.

Safety and environmental

The LD50 in rats (oral) is 891 mg kg–1. It is volatile and can be absorbed through skin. Available data indicate that "exposure to pyridine in drinking-water led to reduction of sperm motility at all dose levels in mice and increased estrous cycle length at the highest dose level in rats". Currently its evaluations as a possible carcinogenic agent showed there is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of pyridine, albeit there is limited evidence of carcinogenic effects on animals.


  • Pyridine-borane, C5H5NBH3 (m.p. 10–11 °C) is a mild reducing agent with improved stability relative to NaBH4 in protic solvents and improved solubility in aprotic organic solvents.
  • Pyridine-sulfur trioxide, C5H5NSO3 (mp 175 °C) is a sulfonation agent used to convert alcohols to sulfonates, which in turn undergo C-O bond scission upon reduction with hydride agents.

Related compounds

Structurally or chemically related compounds are
  • DMAP is short for 4-dimethylaminopyridine
  • Bipyridine and viologen are simple polypyridine compounds consisting of two pyridine molecules joined by a single bond
  • Terpyridine, a molecule of three pyridine rings connected together by two single bonds.
  • Quinoline and Isoquinoline have pyridine and a benzene ring fused together.
  • Aniline is a benzene derivative with an attached NH2 group and NOT a pyridine
  • Diazines are compounds with one more carbon replaced by nitrogen such as Pyrazine and Pyramidine
  • Triazines are compounds with two more carbons replaced by nitrogen and a tetrazine has four nitrogen atoms
  • 2,6-Lutidine is a trivial name for 2,6-dimethylpyridine.
  • Collidine is the trivial name for 2,4,6-trimethylpyridine.
  • Pyridinium p-toluenesulfonate (PPTS) is a salt formed by proton exchange between pyridine and p-toluenesulfonic acid
  • 2-Chloropyridine is a toxic environmentally significant component of the breakdown of the pesticide imidacloprid.

See also


pyridine in Czech: Pyridin
pyridine in German: Pyridin
pyridine in Spanish: Piridina
pyridine in French: Pyridine
pyridine in Croatian: Piridin
pyridine in Italian: Piridina
pyridine in Dutch: Pyridine
pyridine in Japanese: ピリジン
pyridine in Norwegian: Pyridin
pyridine in Polish: Pirydyna
pyridine in Portuguese: Piridina
pyridine in Romanian: Piridină
pyridine in Russian: Пиридин
pyridine in Finnish: Pyridiini
pyridine in Swedish: Pyridin
pyridine in Ukrainian: Піридин
pyridine in Chinese: 吡啶
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1