Fischer esterification

Also known as: Fischer-Speier esterification

Schematic of the Fischer esterification. Reagents: carboxylic acid, alcohol, acid catalyst. Product: ester.

The Fischer esterification is an organic reaction used to convert a carboxylic acid and an alcohol to an ester using an acid catalyst. The mechanism begins with protonation of the carbonyl group of the carboxylic acid, which is then attacked by the alcohol. Proton transfer and the subsequent release of water result in an oxonium ion intermediate. A final deprotonation step provides the ester product.[1]


Mechanism of the Fischer esterification.


Fischer, E.; Speier, A. Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges. 1895, 28, 3252–3258.

Other Esterification Reactions: