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Ethyl formate is used as a solvent for cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, greases and oils. It is also used as a flavor for lemonade and essences. It is involved in the fumigation of dried fruits, as an alternative to methyl bromide.
Many illustrations of use in formylation of carbanions are given in Organic Syntheses: For more recent examples, see: Org. Synth. Coll., 6, 590, Note 1 (1988); Org. Synth. Coll., 9, 180 (Note 4), 239, 548 (1998).
ɑ-Formylation of the dilithio derivatives of carboxylic acids, followed by facile decarboxylation, provides an indirect conversion to the corresponding aldehydes: Tetrahedron Lett., 699 (1970); 603 (1974).
Amines readily give N-formyl derivatives, more easily cleaved by hydrolysis than N-acetyl: Can. J. Chem., 60, 3055 (1982); for an example (L-valinol), see: Org. Synth. Coll., 8, 204 (1993).
Janssen, L. M.; van Oosten, R.; Paul, C. E.; Arends, I. W.; Hollmann, F. Lipase-catalyzed transesterification of ethyl formate to octyl formate. J. Mol. Catal. B: Enzym. 2014, 105, 7-10.
Balaganesh, M.; Dash, M. R.; Rajakumar, B. Experimental and Computational Investigation on the Gas Phase Reaction of Ethyl Formate with Cl Atoms. J. Phys. Chem. A 2014, 118 (28), 5272-5278
Hazard Statements: H225-H302-H332-H319-H335
Highly flammable liquid and vapour. Harmful if swallowed. Harmful if inhaled. Causes serious eye irritation. May cause respiratory irritation.
Precautionary Statements: P210-P262-P243-P305+P351+P338-P403
Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces. - No smoking. Do not get in eyes, on skin, or on clothing. Take precautionary measures against static discharge. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. Store in a well-ventilated place.