Record Information
Version 1.0
Update Date 1/22/2018 12:54:54 PM
Metabolite IDPAMDB000475
Name: Glycolic acid
Description:Glycolic acid (or hydroxyacetic acid) is the smallest alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). In its pure form, glycolic acid is a colorless crystalline solid. Due to its excellent capability to penetrate skin, glycolic acid finds applications in skin care products, most often as a chemical peel. Glycolic acid is also used for tattoo removal. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa it is involved in glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism.
  • 2-Hydroxyacetate
  • 2-Hydroxyacetic acid
  • A-Hydroxyacetate
  • A-Hydroxyacetic acid
  • Alpha-Hydroxyacetate
  • Alpha-Hydroxyacetic acid
  • Glycocide
  • Glycolate
  • Glycolic acid
  • Glycollate
  • Glycollic acid
  • GlyPure
  • GlyPure 70
  • Hydroxyacetate
  • Hydroxyacetic acid
  • Hydroxyethanoate
  • Hydroxyethanoic acid
  • Sodium glycolate
  • Sodium glycolic acid
  • α-Hydroxyacetate
  • α-Hydroxyacetic acid
Chemical Formula: C2H4O3
Average Molecular Weight: 76.0514
Monoisotopic Molecular Weight: 76.016043994
CAS number: 79-14-1
IUPAC Name:2-hydroxyacetic acid
Traditional IUPAC Name: glycolic acid
Chemical Taxonomy
Taxonomy DescriptionThis compound belongs to the class of organic compounds known as alpha hydroxy acids and derivatives. These are organic compounds containing a carboxylic acid substituted with a hydroxyl group on the adjacent carbon.
Kingdom Organic compounds
Super ClassOrganic acids and derivatives
Class Hydroxy acids and derivatives
Sub ClassAlpha hydroxy acids and derivatives
Direct Parent Alpha hydroxy acids and derivatives
Alternative Parents
  • Alpha-hydroxy acid
  • Monocarboxylic acid or derivatives
  • Carboxylic acid
  • Carboxylic acid derivative
  • Hydrocarbon derivative
  • Primary alcohol
  • Organooxygen compound
  • Carbonyl group
  • Alcohol
  • Aliphatic acyclic compound
Molecular Framework Aliphatic acyclic compounds
External Descriptors
Physical Properties
State: Solid
Melting point: 75-80 °C
Experimental Properties:
Water Solubility:SolublePhysProp
LogP:-1.11 [HANSCH,C ET AL. (1995)]PhysProp
Predicted Properties
Water Solubility608.0 mg/mLALOGPS
pKa (Strongest Acidic)3.53ChemAxon
pKa (Strongest Basic)-3.6ChemAxon
Physiological Charge-1ChemAxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count3ChemAxon
Hydrogen Donor Count2ChemAxon
Polar Surface Area57.53 Å2ChemAxon
Rotatable Bond Count1ChemAxon
Refractivity14.35 m3·mol-1ChemAxon
Polarizability6.2 Å3ChemAxon
Number of Rings0ChemAxon
Rule of FiveYesChemAxon
Ghose FilterYesChemAxon
Veber's RuleYesChemAxon
MDDR-like RuleYesChemAxon
Biological Properties
Cellular Locations: Cytoplasm
  • Chloroalkane and chloroalkene degradation pae00625
  • Glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism pae00630
  • Microbial metabolism in diverse environments pae01120
  • gamma-Hexachlorocyclohexane degradation pae00361
Spectrum TypeDescriptionSplash Key
GC-MSGC-MS Spectrum - GC-EI-TOF (Pegasus III TOF-MS system, Leco; GC 6890, Agilent Technologies)splash10-0002-0900000000-ed8b8e4a9e2556ea02e2View in MoNA
GC-MSGC-MS Spectrum - GC-EI-TOF (Pegasus III TOF-MS system, Leco; GC 6890, Agilent Technologies) (2 TMS)splash10-00dj-9600000000-8bafc88c7bf4e90fb5e8View in MoNA
GC-MSGC-MS Spectrum - GC-MS (2 TMS)splash10-003r-2910000000-bd50bf5bab6f5327eaf4View in MoNA
GC-MSGC-MS Spectrum - GC-MSNot Available
LC-MS/MSLC-MS/MS Spectrum - Quattro_QQQ 10V, Negative (Annotated)splash10-004i-9000000000-e942bdae1d60e5f5d649View in MoNA
LC-MS/MSLC-MS/MS Spectrum - Quattro_QQQ 25V, Negative (Annotated)splash10-00di-9000000000-f225de2de3540c3f50a4View in MoNA
LC-MS/MSLC-MS/MS Spectrum - Quattro_QQQ 40V, Negative (Annotated)splash10-00di-9000000000-7de217d97b44f53aad82View in MoNA
LC-MS/MSLC-MS/MS Spectrum - LC-ESI-QQ (API3000, Applied Biosystems) 10V, Negativesplash10-00di-9000000000-88af2b259f82cd1d8938View in MoNA
LC-MS/MSLC-MS/MS Spectrum - LC-ESI-QQ (API3000, Applied Biosystems) 20V, Negativesplash10-004i-9000000000-c968a24f0640b154325bView in MoNA
LC-MS/MSLC-MS/MS Spectrum - LC-ESI-QQ (API3000, Applied Biosystems) 30V, Negativesplash10-0059-9000000000-1dfacf30bf94ce3bf8bbView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, Positivesplash10-004i-9000000000-d961c3c14ec415e3141eView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, Positivesplash10-0a6r-9000000000-67f73be970ba9f885c4aView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, Positivesplash10-0a4i-9000000000-f2ccf0b88e0ad65ed4c6View in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, Negativesplash10-004i-9000000000-7445713a5fe347bbc8b8View in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, Negativesplash10-004i-9000000000-26e13242443efc1aa846View in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, Negativesplash10-0a4i-9000000000-6ba976b949118cd0a86aView in MoNA
MSMass Spectrum (Electron Ionization)splash10-001i-9000000000-2885890e3bb8c015742fView in MoNA
1D NMR1H NMR SpectrumNot Available
1D NMR1H NMR SpectrumNot Available
1D NMR13C NMR SpectrumNot Available
1D NMR1H NMR SpectrumNot Available
1D NMR13C NMR SpectrumNot Available
2D NMR[1H,13C] 2D NMR SpectrumNot Available
  • Bernstein EF, Lee J, Brown DB, Yu R, Van Scott E: Glycolic acid treatment increases type I collagen mRNA and hyaluronic acid content of human skin. Dermatol Surg. 2001 May;27(5):429-33. Pubmed: 11359487
  • Booth ED, Dofferhoff O, Boogaard PJ, Watson WP: Comparison of the metabolism of ethylene glycol and glycolic acid in vitro by precision-cut tissue slices from female rat, rabbit and human liver. Xenobiotica. 2004 Jan;34(1):31-48. Pubmed: 14742135
  • Dietzen DJ, Wilhite TR, Kenagy DN, Milliner DS, Smith CH, Landt M: Extraction of glyceric and glycolic acids from urine with tetrahydrofuran: utility in detection of primary hyperoxaluria. Clin Chem. 1997 Aug;43(8 Pt 1):1315-20. Pubmed: 9267307
  • DiNardo JC, Grove GL, Moy LS: Clinical and histological effects of glycolic acid at different concentrations and pH levels. Dermatol Surg. 1996 May;22(5):421-4. Pubmed: 8634803
  • Effendy I, Kwangsukstith C, Lee JY, Maibach HI: Functional changes in human stratum corneum induced by topical glycolic acid: comparison with all-trans retinoic acid. Acta Derm Venereol. 1995 Nov;75(6):455-8. Pubmed: 8651024
  • Guneral F, Bachmann C: Age-related reference values for urinary organic acids in a healthy Turkish pediatric population. Clin Chem. 1994 Jun;40(6):862-6. Pubmed: 8087979
  • Hoffmann GF, Meier-Augenstein W, Stockler S, Surtees R, Rating D, Nyhan WL: Physiology and pathophysiology of organic acids in cerebrospinal fluid. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1993;16(4):648-69. Pubmed: 8412012
  • Horikoshi T, Matsumoto M, Usuki A, Igarashi S, Hikima R, Uchiwa H, Hayashi S, Brysk MM, Ichihashi M, Funasaka Y: Effects of glycolic acid on desquamation-regulating proteinases in human stratum corneum. Exp Dermatol. 2005 Jan;14(1):34-40. Pubmed: 15660917
  • Jacobsen D, Hewlett TP, Webb R, Brown ST, Ordinario AT, McMartin KE: Ethylene glycol intoxication: evaluation of kinetics and crystalluria. Am J Med. 1988 Jan;84(1):145-52. Pubmed: 3337119
  • Kanehisa, M., Goto, S., Sato, Y., Furumichi, M., Tanabe, M. (2012). "KEGG for integration and interpretation of large-scale molecular data sets." Nucleic Acids Res 40:D109-D114. Pubmed: 22080510
  • Keseler, I. M., Collado-Vides, J., Santos-Zavaleta, A., Peralta-Gil, M., Gama-Castro, S., Muniz-Rascado, L., Bonavides-Martinez, C., Paley, S., Krummenacker, M., Altman, T., Kaipa, P., Spaulding, A., Pacheco, J., Latendresse, M., Fulcher, C., Sarker, M., Shearer, A. G., Mackie, A., Paulsen, I., Gunsalus, R. P., Karp, P. D. (2011). "EcoCyc: a comprehensive database of Escherichia coli biology." Nucleic Acids Res 39:D583-D590. Pubmed: 21097882
  • Leumann EP, Dietl A, Matasovic A: Urinary oxalate and glycolate excretion in healthy infants and children. Pediatr Nephrol. 1990 Sep;4(5):493-7. Pubmed: 2242313
  • Mahul P, Molliex S, Auboyer C, Levigne F, Jospe R, Dumont A, Gilloz A: [Neurotoxic role of glycocolle and derivatives in transurethral resection of the prostate] Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 1993;12(5):512-4. Pubmed: 8311360
  • Marangella M, Petrarulo M, Bianco O, Vitale C, Finocchiaro P, Linari F: Glycolate determination detects type I primary hyperoxaluria in dialysis patients. Kidney Int. 1991 Jan;39(1):149-54. Pubmed: 2002628
  • Marangella M, Petrarulo M, Vitale C, Cosseddu D, Linari F: Plasma and urine glycolate assays for differentiating the hyperoxaluria syndromes. J Urol. 1992 Sep;148(3 Pt 2):986-9. Pubmed: 1507356
  • Newman N, Newman A, Moy LS, Babapour R, Harris AG, Moy RL: Clinical improvement of photoaged skin with 50% glycolic acid. A double-blind vehicle-controlled study. Dermatol Surg. 1996 May;22(5):455-60. Pubmed: 8634809
  • Pien K, van Vlem B, van Coster R, Dacremont G, Piette M: An inherited metabolic disorder presenting as ethylene glycol intoxication in a young adult. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2002 Mar;23(1):96-100. Pubmed: 11953504
  • Porter WH, Rutter PW, Bush BA, Pappas AA, Dunnington JE: Ethylene glycol toxicity: the role of serum glycolic acid in hemodialysis. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2001;39(6):607-15. Pubmed: 11762669
  • Porter WH, Rutter PW, Yao HH: Simultaneous determination of ethylene glycol and glycolic acid in serum by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Anal Toxicol. 1999 Nov-Dec;23(7):591-7. Pubmed: 10595845
  • Roe FJ: Perspectives in carbohydrate toxicology with special reference to carcinogenicity. Swed Dent J. 1984;8(3):99-111. Pubmed: 6592775
  • Shoemaker JD, Elliott WH: Automated screening of urine samples for carbohydrates, organic and amino acids after treatment with urease. J Chromatogr. 1991 Jan 2;562(1-2):125-38. Pubmed: 2026685
  • Tsiafoulis CG, Prodromidis MI, Karayannis MI: Development of amperometric biosensors for the determination of glycolic acid in real samples. Anal Chem. 2002 Jan 1;74(1):132-9. Pubmed: 11795781
  • van der Werf, M. J., Overkamp, K. M., Muilwijk, B., Coulier, L., Hankemeier, T. (2007). "Microbial metabolomics: toward a platform with full metabolome coverage." Anal Biochem 370:17-25. Pubmed: 17765195
  • Winder, C. L., Dunn, W. B., Schuler, S., Broadhurst, D., Jarvis, R., Stephens, G. M., Goodacre, R. (2008). "Global metabolic profiling of Escherichia coli cultures: an evaluation of methods for quenching and extraction of intracellular metabolites." Anal Chem 80:2939-2948. Pubmed: 18331064
Synthesis Reference: Witzemann, Edgar J. Preparation of glycollic acid. Journal of the American Chemical Society (1917), 39 109-12.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Download (PDF)
External Links:
Pubchem Compound ID757
Kegg IDC03547
ChemSpider ID737
WikipediaGlycolic acid
Ligand ExpoGOA


General function:
Involved in oxidoreductase activity, acting on the CH-OH group of donors, NAD or NADP as acceptor
Specific function:
Catalyzes the NADPH-dependent reduction of glyoxylate and hydroxypyruvate into glycolate and glycerate, respectively. Can also reduce 2,5-diketo-D-gluconate (25DKG) to 5-keto-D- gluconate (5KDG), 2-keto-D-gluconate (2KDG) to D-gluconate, and 2- keto-L-gulonate (2KLG) to L-idonate (IA), but it is not its physiological function. Inactive towards 2-oxoglutarate, oxaloacetate, pyruvate, 5-keto-D-gluconate, D-fructose and L- sorbose. Activity with NAD is very low
Gene Name:
Locus Tag:
Molecular weight:
35.6 kDa
Glycolate + NADP(+) = glyoxylate + NADPH.
D-glycerate + NAD(P)(+) = hydroxypyruvate + NAD(P)H.
D-gluconate + NADP(+) = 2-dehydro-D-gluconate + NADPH.
General function:
Involved in catalytic activity
Specific function:
Specific function unknown
Gene Name:
Locus Tag:
Molecular weight:
53.7 kDa
General function:
Involved in iron-sulfur cluster binding
Specific function:
Specific function unknown
Gene Name:
Locus Tag:
Molecular weight:
44.7 kDa
General function:
Involved in catalytic activity
Specific function:
Specific function unknown
Gene Name:
Locus Tag:
Molecular weight:
38.2 kDa


General function:
Involved in lactate transmembrane transporter activity
Specific function:
Transports L-lactate across the membrane. Can also transport D-lactate and glycolate. Seems to be driven by a proton motive force
Gene Name:
Locus Tag:
Molecular weight:
58.7 kDa
General function:
Involved in transporter activity
Specific function:
Transports acetate. Also able to transport glycolate
Gene Name:
Locus Tag:
Molecular weight:
58.7 kDa