tartaric acid

tartaric acid, HO2CCHOHCHOHCO2H, white crystalline dicarboxylic acid. It occurs as three distinct isomers, the dextro-, levo-, and meso- forms. The dextro- and levo- forms are optically active; the meso- form is optically inactive, as is racemic acid, a mixture of equal parts of the dextro- and levo- forms. Tartaric acid is found in many plants, e.g., grapes; this natural acid is chiefly the dextrorotatory d -tartaric acid, called also d -2,3-dihydroxysuccinic acid or l -2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid. This form can be partially converted to the others by heating it with an aqueous alkali, e.g., potassium hydroxide. Tartaric acids can be synthesized from maleic acids or fumaric acids by reaction with aqueous potassium permanganate. The various isomeric forms differ in such physical properties as boiling point. Tartaric acid is used chiefly in the form of its salts, e.g., cream of tartar and Rochelle salt.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on tartaric acid from Fact Monster:

  • racemic acid - racemic acid racemic acid : see tartaric acid.
  • tartar - tartar tartar or argol, impure potassium hydrogen tartrate deposited as a crust in fermenting ...
  • cream of tartar - cream of tartar cream of tartar, white crystalline powder. Chemically it is potassium hydrogen ...
  • fumaric acid - fumaric acid fumaric acid or trans-butenedioic acid,HO2CCHCHCO2H, unsaturated dicarboxylic acid ...
  • isomer - isomer isomer , in chemistry, one of two or more compounds having the same molecular formula but ...

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