Zinc acetate
Zinc acetate is the chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

 with the formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 Zn(O2CCH3)2, which commonly occurs as a dihydrate Zn(O2CCH3)2(H2O)2. Both the hydrate and the anhydrous
As a general term, a substance is said to be anhydrous if it contains no water. The way of achieving the anhydrous form differs from one substance to another...

 forms are colorless solids that are commonly used in chemical synthesis and as dietary supplements. Zinc acetates are prepared by the action of acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

 on zinc carbonate or zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 metal. When used as a food additive
Food additive
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling , salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines...

, it has the E number
E number
E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union . They are commonly found on food labels throughout the European Union. Safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority...


Basic properties and structures

The acetate
An acetate is a derivative of acetic acid. This term includes salts and esters, as well as the anion found in solution. Most of the approximately 5 billion kilograms of acetic acid produced annually in industry are used in the production of acetates, which usually take the form of polymers. In...

 group is capable of binding to metal ions in a variety of ways through its two oxygen atoms and several connectivities are observed for the various hydrates of zinc acetate. Anhydrous zinc acetate adopts a polymeric structure consisting of zinc coordinated to four oxygen atoms in a tetrahedral environment, each tetrahedron being connected to neighbors by the acetate groups. The acetate ligands are not bidentate. In contrast, most metal diacetates feature metals in octahedral coordination with bidentate acetate groups. In zinc acetate dihydrate the zinc is octahedral, wherein both acetate groups are bidentate.

Basic zinc acetate

Heating Zn(CH3CO2)2 in a vacuum results in loss of acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride, or ethanoic anhydride, is the chemical compound with the formula 2O. Commonly abbreviated Ac2O, it is the simplest isolatable acid anhydride and is a widely used reagent in organic synthesis...

, leaving a residue of "basic zinc acetate," with the formula Zn4O(CH3CO2)6. This cluster compound has the tetrahedral
In geometry, a tetrahedron is a polyhedron composed of four triangular faces, three of which meet at each vertex. A regular tetrahedron is one in which the four triangles are regular, or "equilateral", and is one of the Platonic solids...

 structure shown below. This species closely resembles the corresponding beryllium compound, although it is slightly expanded with Zn-O distances ~1.97 vs ~1.63 Å for Be4O(OAc)6
Basic beryllium acetate
Basic beryllium acetate is the chemical compound with the formula Be4O6. Although this compound has no applications and has been only lightly studied, it adopts a distinctive structure. "Basic acetates" consist of an ensemble of metal atoms, a central oxide atom, and an exterior of acetate groups...


Dietary and medicinal applications

Zinc acetate is used as a dietary supplement and in lozenges used to treat the common cold
Common cold
The common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Common symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever...

. Zinc acetate alone is thought to be a more effective treatment than zinc gluconate
Zinc gluconate
Zinc gluconate is the zinc salt of gluconic acid. It is an ionic compound consisting of two moles of gluconate for each mole of zinc...


Zinc acetate can also be used to treat zinc deficiencies. As an oral daily supplement it is used to inhibit the body's absorption of copper as part of the treatment for Wilson's disease
Wilson's disease
Wilson's disease or hepatolenticular degeneration is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder in which copper accumulates in tissues; this manifests as neurological or psychiatric symptoms and liver disease...

. Zinc acetate is also sold as an astringent in the form of an ointment, a topical lotion; or combined with an antibiotic such as erythromycin
Erythromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that has an antimicrobial spectrum similar to or slightly wider than that of penicillin, and is often used for people who have an allergy to penicillins. For respiratory tract infections, it has better coverage of atypical organisms, including mycoplasma and...

 for the topical treatment of acne. Furthermore Zinc acetate is commonly sold as a topical anti-itch ointment.

In chewing gum, zinc acetate is a breath freshener and plaque inhibitor.

Industrial applications

Industrial applications include wood preserving, manufacturing other zinc salts, polymers, manufacture of ethylene acetate, as a dye mordant
A mordant is a substance used to set dyes on fabrics or tissue sections by forming a coordination complex with the dye which then attaches to the fabric or tissue. It may be used for dyeing fabrics, or for intensifying stains in cell or tissue preparations. The term mordant comes from the Latin...

, and analytical reagent.

Zinc acetate is a precursor via a sol-gel route to the transparent semiconductor zinc oxide
Zinc oxide
Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound with the formula ZnO. It is a white powder that is insoluble in water. The powder is widely used as an additive into numerous materials and products including plastics, ceramics, glass, cement, rubber , lubricants, paints, ointments, adhesives, sealants,...

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