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What is Tartaric Acid?

Tartaric acid is an organic di-carboxylic compound. Its molecular formula is C4H4O6. It is also known as racemic acid. It contains two stereocentres. Its IUPAC name is 2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid. It is acidic in nature. Tartaric acid found in many fruits like grapes, tamarinds, banana, and citrus fruits. Tartaric acid is present in many sour vegetables like a tomato.


Structure And Uses of Tartaric Acid

(Image to be added soon)

The tartaric acid molecule exists in three forms: 

  • Neutral bi-acid form

  • Monotartrate form

  • Bitartrate form

Tartaric acid is a chiral molecule with two carboxylic groups. It naturally occurs in Dextro or Levo form.

(Image to be added soon) Dextro form

(Image to be added soon) Levo form


Properties of Tartaric Acid

  • It exists in a white granular to crystalline form.

  • It is an odourless compound.

  • It has pleasant acidulous taste.

  • Its melting point is 173.625 degrees celsius.

  • Its flash point is 210 degrees celsius.

  • It is soluble in water.

  • Its molecular mass is 150.087 g/mol.

  • Its density is 1.79 g/mol.

  • Tartaric acid is reactive in nature. Example of tartaric acid as a reactive molecule is given below:

HO2CCH(OH)CH(OH)CO2H + H2O2 → HO2CC(OH)C(OH)CO2H + 2H2


Tartaric Acid Uses

  • It is used in food additives.

  • It is used in many drugs.

  • It is used as a flavouring agent.

  • It is used as a dusting powder on gloves.

  • It is used in the manufacturing of candies.

  • Its salt is used in removing sulphur dioxide from the waste.

  • It is used in making silver mirrors.

  • It is generally mixed with baking soda and used in baking. As it evolves carbon dioxide this helps in the baking process.


Did You Know?

  • Tartaric acid can be absorbed into the body by inhalation.

  • Tartaric acid can cause a burning sensation and shortness in breathing.

  • Exposure of tartaric acid on the skin can cause redness and skin irritation.

  • It can cause severe redness and pain in the eyes.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the IUPAC name of the tartaric acid?

The IUPAC name of the tartaric acid is 2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid.

2. What are the three forms in which tartaric acid exists?

The tartaric acid molecule exists in three forms: 

  • Neutral bi-acid form

  • Monotartrate form

  • Bitartrate form

3. Write three properties of tartaric acid

Three properties of tartaric acid are given below: 

  • It exists in a white granular to crystalline form.

  • It is an odourless compound.

  • It has pleasant acidulous taste.