Benzoic acid C7H6O2 (or C6H5COOH), is a colorless crystalline solid and a simple acid. The name is derived from gum benzoin, which was for a long time its only known source.
Benzoic acid occurs naturally in many plants and serves as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of many secondary metabolites.
Salts of benzoic acid are used as food preservatives and benzoic acid is an important precursor for the industrial synthesis of many other organic substances.
The salts and esters of benzoic acid are known as benzoates