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Oxidation of aldehydes to carboxylic acids with Ag2O

Description: When Ag2O is added to aldehydes, carboxylic acids are formed. This results in the formation of silver metal (“silver mirror”) a reaction known as the Tollens test.

Notes: Instead of Ag2O, the source of silver is sometimes written as Ag(+) or even AgNO3


Notes: The third example shows an application in sugar chemistry.

Mechanism: For the purposes of Org 1 / Org 2 the mechanism is not considered to be important. One product of this reaction is elemental silver (“silver mirror”) as Ag(+) is reduced to Ag(0). The reaction is often referred to as the Tollens test as it is an old-timey way of testing for the formation of carboxylic acids.