Skeletal formula of semicarbazide
Ball-and-stick model of the semicarbazide molecule
57-56-7 YesY
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
ChEBI CHEBI:28306 YesY
ChemSpider 5008 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.308
KEGG C02077 YesY
PubChem 5196
Molar mass 75.08 g/mol
Melting point 96 °C
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Semicarbazide is the chemical compound with the formula OC(NH2)(N2H3). It is a water-soluble white solid. It is a derivative of urea.


The compound prepared by treating urea with hydrazine:[1]

OC(NH2)2 + N2H4 → OC(NH2)(N2H3) + NH3

A further reaction can occur to give carbohydrazide:

OC(NH2)(N2H3) + N2H4 → OC(N2H3)2 + NH3


Semicarbazide is frequently reacted with aldehydes and ketones to produce semicarbazones via a condensation reaction. This is an example of imine formation resulting from the reaction of a primary amine with a carbonyl group. The reaction is useful because semicarbazones, like oximes and 2,4-DNPs, typically have high melting points and crystallize, facilitating purification or identification of reaction products.[2]

Thiosemicarbazide is the analogous compoound with sulfur atom in place of oxygen atom,[3] with 4-Methyl-3-thiosemicarbazide being a simple example.


Semicarbazide products (semicarbazones and thiosemicarbazones) are known to have an activity of antiviral, antiinfective and antineoplastic through binding to copper or iron in cells.


Semicarbazide is used in preparing pharmaceuticals including: nitrofuran antibacterials (furazolidone, nitrofurazone, nitrofurantoin) and dizatrifone.

Semicarbazide is used as a detection reagent in thin layer chromatography (TLC). Semicarbazide stains α-keto acids on the TLC plate, which must then be viewed under ultraviolet light to see the results.


Semicarbazide has been shown to be formed in heat-treated flour containing azodicarbonamide as well as breads made from azodicarbonamide-treated flour.[4]


See also


  1. Jean-Pierre Schirmann, Paul Bourdauducq "Hydrazine" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002. doi:10.1002/14356007.a13_177.
  2. John McMurry (1984). Organic Chemistry. Brooks/Cole. p. 676.
  3. . PubChem Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Becalski, Adam; Lau, Benjamin; Lewis, David; Seaman, Stephen (2004). "Semicarbazide Formation in Azodicarbonamide-Treated Flour:  A Model Study". J. Agric. Food Chem. 52 (18): 5730. doi:10.1021/jf0495385.

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