One of The Least Antimicrobial Organic Acids is Tartaric Acid, Which Inhibits Less Microbial Growth and Inactivates Fewer Microorganisms Than Other Organic Acids
Tartaric Acid is a white, crystalline organic acid found naturally in many fruits, including grapes, bananas, tamarinds, and citrus. Its salt, potassium bitartrate, also known as cream of tartar, forms naturally during the fermentation process. It is frequently combined with sodium bicarbonate and sold as baking powder, which is used as a leavening agent in food preparation. The acid is added to foods as an antioxidant E334 and to impart its distinct sour flavour. Dihydroxybutanedioic acid is a naturally occurring raw material that can be used in organic chemical synthesis. Dihydroxybutanedioic acid is a dihydroxyl derivative of succinic acid and is an alpha-hydroxy-carboxylic acid with diprotic and aldaric acid properties.
Tartaric Acid was instrumental in the discovery of chemical chirality. Jean Baptiste Biot discovered this property of dihydroxybutanedioic acid in, when he noticed its ability to rotate polarised light. Louis Pasteur expanded on this work by studying the shapes of sodium ammonium tartrate crystals, which he discovered to be chiral. Pasteur was the first to produce a pure sample of levotartaric acid by manually sorting the differently shaped crystals.
Dextro Tartaric Acid or L-(+)-tartaric acid is a naturally occurring form of the acid (obsolete name d-tartaric acid). Because it is naturally occurring, it is less expensive than its enantiomer and meso isomer. The prefixes dextro and levo are obsolete. The natural form is known as (2R,3R)-tartaric acid (L-(+)-tartaric acid), and the enantiomer is known as (2S,3S)-tartaric acid (D-(-)-tartaric acid). (2R,3S)-tartaric acid or (2S,3R)-tartaric acid is the meso diastereomer.
Dihydroxybutanedioic acid is most easily identified by wine drinkers as the source of "wine diamonds," which are small potassium bitartrate crystals that can form spontaneously on the cork or bottom of the bottle. These "tartrates," which are sometimes mistaken for broken glass, are harmless and are prevented in many wines by cold stabilisation (which is not always preferred because it can change the wine's profile). Tartrates left on the insides of ageing barrels were once a significant industrial source of potassium bitartrate.
Dextro and levo crystallise into monoclinic sphenoidal and orthorhombic crystals, respectively. Racemic Tartaric Acid crystallises into monoclinic and triclinic crystals (space group P1). Two anhydrous polymorphs of anhydrous meso tartaric acid exist: triclinic and orthorhombic. Depending on the temperature at which it crystallises from aqueous solution, monohydrated meso tartaric acid crystallises as monoclinic and triclinic polymorphys. dihydroxybutanedioic acid binds to copper(II) ions in Fehling's solution, preventing the formation of insoluble hydroxide salts.
Dihydroxybutanedioic acid plays an important chemical role in fermenting "must," lowering the pH to a level where many undesirable spoilage bacteria cannot live and acting as a preservative after fermentation. Acid contributes some of the tartness in the wine, but citric and malic acids also play a role. Dihydroxybutanedioic acid and its derivatives have numerous pharmaceutical applications. It has been used, for example, in the production of effervescent salts in conjunction with citric acid to improve the taste of oral medications.
Tartar emetic, a potassium antimonyl derivative of the acid, is used as an expectorant in cough syrup in small doses. Tartaric Acid has a number of industrial applications. Metal ions such as calcium and magnesium have been observed to chelate in the acid. As a result, the acid has been used as a chelating agent in the farming and metal industries, respectively, for complexing micronutrients in soil fertiliser and cleaning metal surfaces made of aluminium, copper, iron, and alloys of these metals.