Pyridine is a basic heterocyclic organic compound with the chemical formula C5H5N. It is structurally related to benzene, with one methine group (=CH−) replaced by a nitrogen atom. The pyridine ring occurs in many important compounds, including azines and the vitamins niacin and pyridoxine.
Pyridine was discovered in 1849 by the Scottish chemist Thomas Anderson as one of the constituents of bone oil. Two years later, Anderson isolated pure pyridine through fractional distillation of the oil. It is a colorless, highly flammable, weakly alkaline, water-soluble liquid with a distinctive, unpleasant fish-like smell.
Pyridine is used as a precursor to agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals and is also an important solvent and reagent. Pyridine is added to ethanol to make it unsuitable for drinking (see denatured alcohol). It is used in the in vitro synthesis of DNA, in the synthesis of sulfapyridine (a drug against bacterial and viral infections), antihistaminic drugs tripelennamine and mepyramine, as well as water repellents, bactericides, and herbicides. Some chemical compounds, although not synthesized from pyridine, contain its ring structure. They include B vitamins niacin and pyridoxine, the anti-tuberculosis drug isoniazid, nicotine and other nitrogen-containing plant products. Historically, pyridine was produced from coal tar and as a byproduct of coal gasification. However, increased demand for pyridine resulted in the development of more economical methods of synthesis from acetaldehyde and ammonia, and more than 20,000 tonnes per year are manufactured worldwide.

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