CH3COO is the chemical formula for acetate. It can also be written as CH3CO2- or C2H3O2-. Acetate is a negative ion, often found in aqueous solution. Acetate forms neutral molecules by combining with cations. The products of these reactions are also commonly referred to as acetates such as sodium acetate.
Acetate is the most common building block in biosynthesis, like the synthesis of fatty acids. Acetate is also used by organisms in the form of acetyl coenzyme A, or acetyl-CoA, during aerobic cellular respiration. During the second phase of cellular respiration, pyruvate is oxidized to acetyl-CoA and CO2. The acetyl-CoA moves to the third phase, the citric acid cycle, where it is consumed for chemical energy.