Methyl benzoate (Oil of Niobe) is a pleasant smelling ester of benzoic acid and methanol. It is insoluble in water but readily dissolves in alcohols, oils, paraffins, and other organic solvents.
In synthetic chemistry, methyl benzoate can be selectively brominated, nitrated, chlorinated, hydrogenated, or amidated in several useful aromatic derivatives.
In the air care industries, the pleasant smell of methyl benzoate is utilized in air fresheners, perfumes, deodorants, etc.
In agro-business, methyl benzoate is finding uses as a safer alternative fumigant displacing toxic incumbents such as sulfuryl fluoride, methyl bromide, hydrogen cyanide, nitric oxide, etc.
Methyl benzoate is also used as a carrier solvent for dyes, cellulose esters, etc.
Other important uses include:
bees attractant or bait
insect repellant or insecticide