# Is carbonic acid and bicarbonate ions one and the same thing? If not what's the difference.

##### 1 Answer
Jun 19, 2018

Consider,

${H}_{2} C {O}_{3} r i g h t \le f t h a r p \infty n s {H}^{+} + H C {O}_{3}^{-}$

where carbonic acid dissociates into its protons (which form hydronium ions) and bicarbonate ions. To be sure, these aren't the same things but an acid and its conjugate base.

This is a critical part of the blood buffering system, which is a very important topic in biochemistry.