Pyridine is an organic compound discovered by a Scottish chemist in the year 1849. The compound is structurally similar to benzene, the only difference being replacement of one methine group with a nitrogen atom. The compound is a water-soluble liquid, highly flammable, colorless and weakly alkaline with a distinctive fish-like smell. It can be found naturally in marshmallow and belladonna roots, as well as the leaves. Trace amounts of the compound are produced during canning and roasting processes. For instance, it can be found in roasted coffee, fried chicken, Beaufort cheese, black tea, vaginal secretions and smoke from cannabis and tobacco.
Pyridine is one of the main ingredients in the manufacture of chemical pesticides. For instance, the compound is usually chlorinated to make chlorpyrifos pesticides. It is also one of the main raw materials in the manufacture of certain fungicides. Due to its unique properties, the compound can also be used as a solvent in Knoevenagel condensations among other processes. Some dental and oral antiseptics can be manufactured using the compound as the precursor.