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Tartaric acid: what it is and what it is used for

Tartaric acid: what it is and what it is used for

Tartaric acid, present in fruit and wine, has lightening and exfoliating properties but can also create problems for us. In addition to being the main component of grapes, it is also the main component of tamarind, it appears as an antioxidant molecule. It was isolated for the first time in the nineteenth century by the alchemist Gabir ibn Hayyan and it is called "tartaric" because it is isolated from a compound called potassium tartar or, directly, tartar.

Tartaric acid monohydrate

From a chemical point of view, tartaric acid is a crystalline dicarboxylic acid derived from succinic acid, its molecular formula is C4H6O6. It is unalterable in the air and occurs in nature like a white powder, in water and also in glycerin, propyl alcohol and methyl alcohol. If it is brought to particularly high temperatures, this acid decomposes and it gives off an odor that can be mistaken for that of burnt sugar.

Tartaric acid: what is it for

It is used in the kitchen but also in the field of cosmetics. In the latter case, we find tartaric acid among the main ingredients of products such as exfoliating peels and depigmenting creams. If instead we look at its use at the table, then we discover that its properties are exploited acidity regulator and leavening agent.

Also phytotherapy and medicine use tartaric acid, in the first case its molecule, together with other active ingredients or natural extracts, is used as an antioxidant, in the second case, however, it is added to sodium bicarbonate to obtain effervescent digestive drugs

Tartaric acid: foods

Together with other acids such as glycolic, citric and malic, our tartaric is very present in fruit. But if we ingest it in high doses it is highly toxic, for high doses, however, we mean quantities that are very difficult to take "by chance". For example 7.5 g / kg of this molecule is capable of causing death from cardiovascular collapse and / or acute renal failure, so it really is unlikely to poison yourself with tartaric acid only by eating fruit.

In the kitchen, therefore, we can safely ingest it in products that contain it as an acidity regulator (E334), in non-alcoholic and sparkling drinks and in some bakery products, in jams or in sweets, in dairy products and baking powders.

Tartaric acid: wine

Not only is it found in wine but it is one of the most important acidity regulators and as proof of this we find that the total acidity of a wine is measured by the amount of tartaric dissolved in it. In addition to regulating its acidity, it gives it a particular aroma and also a particular color.

Tartaric acid: where to buy and price

To buy this acid we can search online. A kg of powder on Amazon costs 12 euros.

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Video: Structure and uses of Tartaric acid. pharmaceutical organic chemistry-1. unit-5 (November 2021).