Aldehydes are easily oxidized to carboxylic acid but ketones are difficult to oxidise. Most books say that the hydrogen directly bonded to the $\ce{C=O}$ in the aldehyde is what aids the oxidation process. However, can someone please tell me why this is so.


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In the oxidation of aldehyde, the hydrogen attached to carbonyl compound is replaced by an $\ce{-OH}$ group resulting in the formation of carboxylic compound. In case of ketones, bulkier alkyl groups ($\ce{-R}$) should be replaced by an $\ce{-OH}$ group to form carboxylic compound.

We know that hydrogen abstraction is much easier than that of bulkier alkyl groups. Likewise, after the oxidation of the aldehyde, the carbon chain containing the $\ce{C=O}$ group remains same but due to loss of $\ce{-R}$ group during oxidation, the length of the carbon chain decreases in ketones.

schematics of the reactions


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