Science, Tech, Math › Science Cannizzaro Reaction in Organic Chemistry Share Flipboard Email Print Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated November 05, 2019 Cannizzaro Reaction This is the general form of the Cannizzaro reaction. Todd Helmenstine The Cannizzaro reaction is a redox disproportionation of aldehydes to carboxylic acids and alcohols in the presence of a a strong base.The second reaction uses a similar mechanism with α-keto aldehydes.The process is a redox reaction in which a hydride is transferred from one substrate to another. One of the aldehydes is oxidized to yield an acid, while the other is reduced to yield an alcohol. The Cannizzaro reaction sometimes produces unwanted byproducts in reactions involving aldehydes in basic conditions. History The Cannizzaro reaction takes its name from its discoverer, Stanislao Cannizzaro, who first achieved the reaction in 1853. Cannizzaro treated benzaldehyde with potassium carbonate (potash) to obtain benzyl alcohol and potassium benzoate. While Cannizzaro used potassium carbonate, the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide is more common.